The Best Management Job Ever
It seems I’ve always found my way to leadership positions, from being the oldest of four children to being placed in a leadership position within Assurance. I was promoted to my first supervisor position at the ripe old age of 17 when I worked for Kmart. Later, I learned more about leadership during my stint in the Army. However, the best management position I’ve had by far was about 10 years ago when I was made head coach for the Beecher Spartans’ kindergarten basketball team. First, I’m only 5’6”, so it was nice to be the tallest for a change. Second, I learned so much about both management and basketball.
Managing a handful of kindergarteners isn’t an easy task. I had to meet the mini-basketball players at their skill level and remember that not every child is created equal. Some could dribble, others could shoot and some were afraid of the ball. No matter their skill level, my goal was to help them improve, while having fun. The challenge with coaching kindergarteners is you can’t write them up, fire them or give them a pay raise. I discovered praise is a lot more effective than discipline. I also learned the importance of reminding the kindergarteners they weren’t going to make every shot. LeBron James only makes 64 percent of his shots and he’s… well, LeBron. It was a long eight weeks of basketball, but by the end this group of wannabe all-stars had a great time and I learned how to be a more effective manager.
I soon realized a lot of what I learned, I was actually implementing at work. I began to treat my subordinates less like subordinates and more like wannabe all-stars. Some employees were good with the computer, some are great with clients, some are great at projects and some are intimidated by new tasks. When an employee was unsuccessful, I coached them up. I laughed with them and made the challenges fun. I let the employees know they aren’t going to “make every shot”, some tasks are going to be challenging and difficult. The important thing was, I knew my team was trying hard and doing their best. Through these lessons, I found myself closer to my team, more trusting and trusted. As a result, my job became more fulfilling, turnover was reduced and we all felt as though we were part of a winning ‘A’ Team.
- Leadership Training by Warren Buffett
- Maddonisms: A Lesson in Leadership
- Building a Best Place to Work Culture in Three Steps
- 5 Questions to Ask Your Employees
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