Me, a leader?
I’ve been a manager for several years now. A leader? That, I’m still working on.
Leading is difficult stuff. Managing, I’m actually quite good at. Leading people, now that’s a totally different ball game. There are all sorts of mushy, feely stuff involved. And when I said it was a different ball game, I did that because I’ve heard there’s coaching involved. It’s not enough to find great people, apparently you need to help them get even better. This isn’t going to end well.
As I mentioned recently, I just want us to not suck. Surely people should be able to do that all by themselves. No? So now I have to pretend to like people (I’m a hopeless introvert that would probably be better off living in a cave on the top of some remote mountain) and even try not to hurt their feelings when I tell them to suck it up and.. well, not suck.
Luckily, I read a lot of books (good cave activity). The other day I found one that reminded me that even as a leader, especially as a leader, you’ve got to tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. You just got to tell them nicely.
So when I tell people I don’t want them to suck, I try to do so nicely. I start by asking them about their day. And then I tell them please don’t suck.
Seriously, I tell people when I’m not happy about something, but I try my best to assume good intent. If someone did something wrong, they probably didn’t mean to. And if someone did something wrong, at least they’re doing something. And they’ll most likely do it different next time around. So by doing the wrong stuff, they’re actually improving. Hey, that’s what I was supposed to help them with, wasn’t it?
Maybe I can become a leader, after all?
Rest assured that on those rare occasions I do come across as a leader, I will be dead set on coming across as a good one. There are so many bad bosses out there, I’m not sure there are even room for more.
Even though I still find it challenging to improve others, I work hard on improving myself. In one year, I will be a better leader than I am today. In three years I will be even better. In five, the people who work for me will go “Hey, that shit you just said actually made sense!” when I tell them stuff.
Until then, I guess when I’m not managing, I’ll be in my cave. Reading. Probably about self managing teams and silly stuff like that. I mean, if the guys managed themselves, what on earth would I do?