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 my stuff.
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 all A’s.
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.