Tater Talks Leadership

Two disclaimers before I start 1. I am not going to claim I am a great or even good leader. 2. I am not talking about any specific people in the post. If you read something that sounds like you it is merely coincidental.

I was at a conference in the fall and one of the things that really stood out to me was a quote that I, being old, can’t remember exactly. The basic premise of the quote is that you should not take a leadership position if you want to be comfortable. Leadership is not comfortable. If you are in a leadership position and you are comfortable, you might be a bad leader. If you are in a leadership position and are comfortable, there is a really good chance someone below you is uncomfortable because you are letting the hard things fall to them. If you took a leadership position because you wanted the “perks” of being a leader without the challenges of being a leader you are likely an asshole and a terrible leader. Leadership should not be comfortable. If you don’t want to be uncomfortable and do hard things do not take a leadership position.

Leadership is not sitting in an office while others do all the work. Real leaders get their hands dirty. Figuratively, you don’t actually have to have dirty hands to be a leader. I don’t know how someone expects to lead a staff when they have no idea what the staff does. If you aren’t out there working with the people you lead, how do you know how to lead them? How do you know what they need? Who needs what training? Too many people think one of the aforementioned perks is that they get to sit in an office all day while other people do the work. I like when I go into a business and the owner and/or manager is out on the floor working with the staff. I guarantee your staff notices how much you are working with them.

A good leader cares about the people they are leading. They don’t treat people like replaceable cogs in a machine. They value them and let them know they value them. Leaders should, when possible, fix issues that are making work difficult for their staff. Good leaders have employees who want to continue working for them because they know they have their back and will support them when things are hard. Also, a leader should be supportive and do what they can to help their staff when they are ready to move onward and upward. Caring about your staff also means not holding them back to make your life easier.

Leadership is hard. Unfortunately, you might not know this until you are a leader. Do the hard stuff. Be visible. Care about people. That will make it a little easier.

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Tater’s Weekly Wrap Up 9/1/17

Dogs – I have a dog. I love my dog, but I don’t need to take my dog everywhere with me. I don’t understand why people want to take their dogs everywhere. There are dogs in bars, dogs at outdoor concerts, dogs on vacation and even a Ravens football practice where bringing your dog was encouraged. Why are we doing this? I barely want to take my kids places with me and I don’t have to pick up their poop with a plastic bag. Why would I want to take my dog? I don’t get it.

FLOTUS’s Shoes – I don’t care what shoes the First Lady chose to wear while walking from the White House to the plane to fly to Texas. I’m not a fan of Trump and think he is a disaster as president, but this need to pick on everything his family does is ridiculous. The shoes she wore on the plane mean absolutely nothing. There was an entire article about it in the Post. That’s really, really stupid. I know horrible people said horrible things about the Obama family when he was in office. That does not make it right to pick on the Trump family at all. Take the high road when it comes to the family.

Customer Service – Two instances this week of really bad customer service. My daughter and her friends went through the drive-thru at McDonald’s. The person at the window was not very friendly and when they got home they discovered that the box for the chicken nuggets was filled with tartar sauce packages instead of food. They had to go back to get the nuggets and apparently got free apple pies in apology. Had I been there, the entire order would have been refunded. I’m also once again dealing with poor delivery service with the Washington Post. I still like to read the print edition, but will likely switch to digital because the carrier does not care if I get my paper on time. Delivery is getting more and more inconsistent lately. This happened last year and no one cared until I tracked down the head of customer care on Twitter. Once he was involved it got better. It looks like I might need to talk to him again. Good customer service can be hard to find.

Mini-Career Rant – I managed a one person branch of a library for 19 years. It was in jail, but I still managed it. I did all of the day today, supervised volunteers(inmates) and purchased the collection. No one seems to consider that real management because I didn’t officially supervise a staff and didn’t write evaluations. Somehow writing evaluation is now equated with management and leadership. You can teach anyone to write a decent evaluation. Real leadership is much harder.