We can all be positive, credible and inspirational female managers even if we didn’t have someone to look up to as our mentor from the world of business. I looked up to my mom. During my formative years, she never had a “normal” job, but I did learn most if not all of my management techniques from her. A teacher, a stay at home mom, a professional stand-up comedian, an office manager for multiple types of local businesses and now an interior designer. I am convinced my mom can do anything and it is all because of her outlook on life and her ability to effectively communicate no matter what her audience is. From her, I attribute my ability to keep my employees happy and feeling as if they are really cared about by their manager to what I learned from her. No matter what my mother was doing she was throwing her heart and effort completely into it. She may have been writing the rules as she went along, but she always appeared as if she knew what she was doing! I learned to be on the same level as my employees one minute, coaching them as their boss the next, and then working with our department Vice President after that. All because my mother showed me how to effectively communicate with anyone about anything, and be respected for my opinion.
When I started in my current position I watched my manager run our production meetings. I took notes on the things he did well and even the things he struggled with. After 7 months of work I asked to take over my area and these production meetings. The next thing I knew, as the youngest person in the room, I was at the head of the table with a whole conference room of people staring at me. I may have been sweating under my blazer (speaking of blazers…that’s a whole other topic I will cover in the future) but I tried my hardest to remain cool, calm and collected as I moved through my agenda. I’ll admit I left out a few items, but we handled them at the end during an open section for which I left time. Who cares if people talked about the slip up after. It was my first time and you’ve got to start somewhere. That was 2.5 years ago and now everyone knows that if you are stepping into my production meetings you better be prepared because I mean business. I don’t waste anyone’s time, but we get a lot accomplished and I keep everyone informed in a lively way.
To be a positive leader you need to remain optimistic about the past, present and future. That doesn’t mean you aren’t also realistic, but staying optimistic means you’ll be able to respond to change if it comes. Look for solutions not excuses while you anticipate and stay prepared. It is easy to be viewed as credible when you are known to consider the consequences of your decisions and able to adapt when need be. Your staff and upper management respect when you can admit you are wrong. I know many gals who refuse to admit they are wrong because their boss might find out. However, I am known to walk into my boss’s office and fess up right away so that the problem I may have created can be fixed. Nothing like being humble, right? There is no shame in admitting you’re wrong. Just be prepared to figure out how you’re going to fix your mistake. Especially since we all like to tease guys about who never admit to being wrong about anything.
As a manager you are not only judged by how you do your job, but also by the work of your employees so inspire them to excel instead of escape. I manage my employees by vowing to not ask them to do something I wouldn’t do myself. I’ll get sweaty and dirty side-by-side with my employees if that what it takes to prove how serious I am. I want them to know I understand where they are. I was there once, it was where I started, and I’ll never forget it. I see it as a privilege to have moved up the ladder and into my current position. I consistently remember how I felt in my past I was managed by people who considered themselves my “boss” and not my “leader.” My bosses used to tell me what to do, make me feel like an outsider, dump tasks on me and operate in a close-minded thought process. I vowed to ask employees to do things in a way that would make them want to, make my employees feel like an insider who is really cared about as a part of the team, delegate tasks to those who are in need of an extra challenge to keep things interesting and operate in an open-minded thought process so everyone could benefit from potential changes that could be proposed.
After 3 years I have created a positive, credible and inspirational reputation for myself within my company all because I chose to handle situations in classy and dignified ways. Although I am usually an introvert in large social situations, through my job I have learned to be more confident in what I say and do. While my mother always said that working as an office manager allowed her to play to a different audience every hour on the hour, I have embraced the different levels of people I work with each day. I also see it as a chance to shine multiple times throughout the day. A few weeks ago I received the highest compliment when someone described me as “a creative and effective leader with cross-platform skills. “ He said I “communicate effectively” and am “a positive and enthusiastic team member as well.” The biggest reward was hearing him say I’m “a pleasure to work with!” It makes me feel like I am achieving my goal of being a successful manager. I’m a 21st century gal who is forsaking those bad management ways, the kind my counterparts are still attempting to use, and paving a new path ahead.