“The Only Source of knowledge is experience”
From this quote alone I’m sure you can guess what this post will be about, and really it is very true. Everything we do in life, every moment we learn something new we are gaining experience that we can one day use to help other people through their own lives. What I mainly want to focus on is the experiences I’ve had as a manager and how they have taught me life lessons that will follow me through the rest of my professional life.
Starting with the most simple lesson I’ve learned, no matter how right you think you are, there will always be someone who wants to disprove you. This is not to be negative but in reality there will always be people who see you as their enemy. You could work every day to make that person like you and respect you but for some reason they just don’t seem to want to know you. In management you can not make everybody your friend, the best you can hope for is that they at least respect you enough to follow you. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way because when you do try to make people your friend, no matter how good the intention, their respect for you as a leader is not there because they see you on the same level as them. This is a problem only because when you do try and tell them what they should be doing their response is more often retaliation than acceptance. Unfortunately retaliation in the management world is called insubordination and as much as you don’t want to the employee has to be written up for it. As soon as that happens they immediately stop seeing you as a friend and there is still no respect either. My best advice in any leadership role is to be kind, be fair, but do not become their friends. As soon as that barrier breaks there is no turning back.
Another great life lesson I’ve learned as a manager is that no matter how bad something seems at the moment, it will get better. I’m sure that everyone has learned this lesson in one form or another but for myself it was different. There were many nights when it just got so busy and hectic that I felt like I couldn’t breath and if someone complained I just about lost it. In time I learned that would get me nowhere and started to just breath and think though it, taking one thing at a time until eventually it became much easier to see a busy night as nothing more than a challenge to beat my personal best. It won’t always work that way and sometimes you might just feel completely helpless but just remember that eventually all of those stresses in your life are going to go away and you will be much happier knowing that you got yourself through it instead of just giving up on your dreams.
One of the best lessons I’ve learned though is, no matter how awful a person seems if you can be that person that makes their day they will always remember you for it. It’s not often that you are able to make that kind of connection but when you do it feels amazing. I’ve had a couple customers that my employees just complain about and say are the meanest people ever. When I go talk to them I am kind and understanding and I’ve had more than a few people laughing and talking to me as if nothing ever happened. The lesson here really is, you have no clue what’s happening in someone else’s life so to judge them based on their attitude is wrong. Sometimes all those people really need is someone to make them smile and when they come back if they see you there they will remember you and talk to you with a huge smile on their face.
So there you have it, a few of the many life lessons I have learned from being a manager. If you find this helpful or inspiring then please, go ahead and share it and everyone have an awesome night J