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Tomorrow is my last shift before I go away on my first vacation. At the end of the month I’ll have been in my position for a whole year! In the last year I’ve experienced a lot of highs and lows, and the last four months in particular have held the biggest learning curve I’ve experienced to date. My boss left the company and I had the privilege of working with a team of General Managers and Managers from around the nation to prepare for the arrival of my new General Manager. I’ve grown more comfortable with coaching and developing my team, my Centre’s sales are rapidly climbing out of a long term deficit, the cleanliness and organization of my Centre is now a team focus where it used to be management focus, and my crew is taking initiative towards leadership! This transition has been very stressful for me as a new manager—when my boss left I had only been in my position for 7 months…and I was the most experienced person in the Centre.
Out of all of the different GMs and Managers that I’ve had the privilege to work with I feel that one manager from Texas has impacted me the most on a personal level. This young woman was not much older than me, she was nervous about coming to my Centre as it was the first time she travelled to give support to another location, and she celebrated Easter from her hotel room on the phone with her husband and two children. This woman had a LOT of reasons to dislike the timing of her visit to Boston, but she did not express a single aggravated thought during her entire visit. Before meeting this woman I thought that my management situation was bad, and I was gladly humbled when she shared with me that when she was hired into our company her GM was fired right after she received her training. Her most experienced help available did not know her well enough to respond to her leadership right away, and she had had about 2 weeks exposure to the company before she had to run things on her own.
What kept this woman going during her transition? The same thing that has kept me going since she led me by example—positivity. Positivity as a concept was something that I tried to impress upon my crew to keep morale high, but I was admittedly faking it a lot of the time at first. Spinning my wheels and trying to get things done without having a lot of experience or consistency to help my efforts, negativity easily crept into my mindset. To my chagrin, that negativity kept me pretty comfortable for a while; I was almost content stewing over a host of little things that a positive person wouldn’t even think about for more than a few seconds. Staying positive is not easy when you’re stuck in your own ways and you can’t see the bigger picture, the impact that positivity can have on your team. Positivity can be the difference between having to calm your staff member down when a customer is rude vs. laughing about how calmly they deflected a rude comment. Positivity can be the difference between raging out whenever the phone rings vs. jumping to grab the phone because every call could lead to more business. Positivity can be the difference between putting on your uniform and dreading the next ten hours vs. putting on your uniform excited to make a difference.
I still have a lot to learn, and I am positive that my new General Manager and I will work exceptionally well together when I return from vacation. I got to work alongside him during a lot of his training and he shows a sincere effort to improve himself, me, our team, and our Centre. I look forward to growing under his leadership, improving my own leadership, and looking back on my recent transitional period as a learning experience from my first year on the job.