When I was a senior in college, I became the co-editor of the college newspaper — The Knox Student — along with my friend Rob. When introducing us, Rob would say, “Hi, I’m Rob. I’m in charge of happiness. This is Nicole. She’s in charge of everything else.”
His description was basically accurate. I was very good at making sure the work got done, but not very good at knowing people, working with them to develop their strengths and skills, and training them to do their jobs. Basically, I was bad at almost everything it takes to be a manager. Rob would smooth things over when my brusque management style would ruffle feathers or hurt feelings. Oh, and he edited and oversaw the news and sports sections, too.
After graduation, I became the one who was managed. In one of my first journalism jobs, I had a pretty young and new managing editor. (Side note: I was a local newspaper reporter before becoming the clergy person and yogi you now know. Yeah, I’ve had a lot of jobs.) I worked for that managing editor for about a year and then got my first review. It was terrible. She had never mentioned the issues with my work in that entire year, nor had she ever spent time teaching or training me (or anyone on our team) how to do the job. I actually said to her, “So why didn’t you tell me this before?” Her response: Crickets.
Having that experience being managed gave me immense empathy for those who I managed just a few years earlier on my college newspaper staff. I learned a tough lesson about getting to know the people on your team; learning their gifts, skills and passions; and using those to their fullest. I learned that managing people was mostly the human stuff of knowing them, supporting them and challenging them when appropriate, and teaching and training them. It gave me the motivation to spend the rest of my career learning how to be a better coach, trainer and organizational developer. Now I try to help others be the best leaders and managers they can be.
I’m sad about how I treated people when I was a college newspaper editor. If you were on my staff back then and are reading this blog post, I’m sorry and I’m grateful you’re still my friend. I’m also grateful for that unpleasant experience getting an employment review from my first managing editor because it taught me so much about what I needed to do as a manager and leader.
What are some of the hard lessons for which you are grateful? Share your story on this post or anywhere on social media, tag me and use the hashtag #ShareGratitude, and you could win a prize each week in November! I’ll announce winners Sundays on social media
More to be grateful for: I’m hosting six opportunities for you to recharge your batteries during the hectic holiday season:
- Nov. 26, 1-3 p.m. EST – Breathing, Not Buying: Alternative Black Friday Restorative Yoga/Meditation
- Sundays Nov. 28-Dec. 19, 7:30-8:30 p.m. EST – Sparking Hope: Mindful Advent Yoga Series (donation class!)
- Dec. 31, 1-3 p.m. EST – Starting with Hope: New Years Eve Restorative Yoga/Meditation
Register for all these practices on my events page.