It was my first week on the job as a new manager.
My management training program had lasted three months.
During that time, I learned how to be a decent grill operator and was proud of
my progress. When I took over my own store at the age of 23 (the youngest
person in my unit), I wanted to show the more experienced workers that I knew
We didn’t have assistant managers or shift supervisors and I
was responsible for everything and everyone. It was great; I felt really important.
During the first week, a cook cut his finger with a knife. Immediately, two waitresses stormed into my office asking for a band-aid. Oops. There
was no first aid kit.
I didn’t know what to do. It was clear to me: my staff will
lose all faith in my managerial ability. I look incompetent. Surely I should
have thought about having band-aids on hand.
I really wanted to be perfect – I wanted a report card with
I thought I had been up for the task of managing
employees who know more than me – my plan was to wow everyone with my
management savvy. After all, I was great at statistical analysis and knew how
to do payroll.
In retrospect, my thinking was ALL WRONG.
I love how Marshall Goldsmith explains this: “[Y]ou
have to look at leadership through the wants and needs of the worker as
opposed to the skills of the leader.”
Yup, this pressure of having to prove myself as a new manager
would have been almost non-existent had I focused more on the needs of my team instead of worrying about myself.
So next time your ducks are out of order, stop for a minute
and think about everyone else in the pond.
For example, the frogs. Your objective: move all brown frogs
to the right and all green frogs to the left.
Instructions: Click on a frog to make it hop to the next
rock. They can only hop one at a time and in one direction. Green frogs can
only hop brown frogs and brown frogs can only hop green frogs. If you are
stuck, hit reset. (This does not work in real life.)
(iAnything users: Sorry,
this is a flash game and won’t work on your device – not yet, anyway.)