I already admitted I watch way too much Bravo. But I was sick the other weekend, so I overloaded on Housewives and Downton Abbey. I also tuned into Top Chef, another one of my Bravo faves. I came to admire Chef Adrienne on Season 15, because she wrote down everything she learned over the course of the competition. She would read over those things prior to each subsequent challenge. What a great way for her to capitalize on the experience of competition for the long term!
Several days later, I met with a mentor and friend of mine. I was explaining that sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough management experience (typical Impostor Syndrome manifestation). He quickly dismissed my comment and said, “Amanda, you have been a manager. But, you also have been managed, which means you’ve witnessed good and bad managers. All told, you probably have more experience than people who have managed others even longer than you.”
That hit me! While I have about five years of direct management experience, I’ve also been part of a couple of start-up companies. So, I’ve seen the ups and downs of teams built with good leaders and not-so-good leaders. Seeing the way I was managed, as well as how my colleagues were managed, helped me to learn who I wanted to be as a manager. I learned a heck of a lot from the direct experience of managing others, but my mentor was right…the act of being managed is what really shaped me even more.
After processing the discussion with my mentor and my night watching Top Chef, I decided to draft a few quick ways to keep these key lessons top of mind and remember to apply them.
- Write everything down. Be like Adrienne! What a great idea to ensure you are growing and learning. List out the things you learn each day, even the simple things, to help you remember them so you can continue to improve and better yourself. This can be as simple as a posting a sticky note on your computer that reads, “Say thank you to the team at the end of the day.”
- Stay aware. Keep your eyes and ears open, and process what you see and hear. You can learn just as much from what other managers do wrong as from what they do well. Remember that everything can be a learning experience, even if the lesson is, “Don’t do _____ ever.”
- Make specific goals. After you identify some lessons, decide which ones you can turn into specific goals for your improvement. Write down and post in a prominent place what you want to be (or what you don’t), and refer to the examples from your observations and notes for guidance.
- Focus. Focus on one of your improvement goals at a time so you don’t become overwhelmed. That’s why you wrote your goals down! When you feel like you have made progress on that one goal, return to your list and move on to the next one.
- Check in with a mentor or co-worker. Ask for advice about how a person you want to emulate succeeded. Get specific feedback from co-workers or a mentor about your progress to make sure you’re on the right track.
And remember that we’re here for you at GGTW, too! Reach out if you have a question or need ideas for how to meet your goals. We have a great team of women who are ready and willing to guide and mentor you as you Go Get The World.