I became President of Catalyst last July, after being here as Public Relations Director for 20 years. In stepping into this new role, I have to admit, I had some concerns. Would I be a good leader? How would I encourage and motivate our staff? Would we ultimately be successful as a team?
I now realize that my own management style has really developed over time. It blends what I’ve learned about leadership from my parents, husband, work colleagues, clients and yes, even my kids. So, given this amalgamation of styles, here are some of the “rules” I’ve come to live by:
1. Lead by example – Hold yourself to the highest standards and others will often rise to the occasion as well.
2. Show your personal side – Let people get to know you, share your thoughts, your recipes, as well as your kids, and get to know them personally as well.
3. Pick your battles – Sometimes you need to remind people who’s boss, but there are plenty of other times when it’s better just to let it go. Know the difference, and act accordingly.
4. Ask questions that help employees find their own answers – Not only does this make them more self-sufficient in the long-run but they’ll feel twice as good about their work in the process.
5. Offer to pitch in – It’s important to still be able to roll your sleeves up and get to work, real work. Sometimes employees just have too much on their plates and let’s face it, the work still needs to get done. Be part of the team, not just the leader of it, and everyone wins.
6. Find new ways to motivate people – I have found this is often more about all the little things you can do, rather than grand gestures. I mean who doesn’t enjoy bagel Fridays?
7. Recognize great work – This is probably one of the most important things you can do because, after all, great work begets great work.
8. Share others’ success – Similar to #7 it’s important not just to say “good job” but to share that with others. We all appreciate a pat on the back once in a while and it’s important that colleagues can jump on the bandwagon, so to speak, and share in the kudos. Not only does this make the recipient feel great, but it can motivate others on the team.
9. Keep your finger on the pulse – This is true not just for employees but for your clients as well. It’s important that they all feel they have your attention once in a while. This might mean a quarterly lunch or phone call with clients, popping in on regularly scheduled client meetings and making sure you know how employees are doing, especially when it’s busier-than-usual.
10. Have fun –Leading can be challenging but it’s important not to lose sight of all that you love about your work. Remember, don’t take everything so seriously and make sure there is always some fun to be found at work.
I’ve learned a lot in these last eight months, but then again, I’ve had some really great role models. Most of all, I’ve come to realize that if I trust my instincts, what my gut is telling me – and yes perhaps seek some counsel from others when I’m uncertain what to do – I can’t go wrong; and neither can you!