I’m a leader, a trainer, an encourager, a believer, a giver, a friend, a teacher, a mentor, a counselor, a backer upper, a call away, a stay later, a helper outer, an organizer, a receiver, a deliverer, a conductor, a planner, a helper, a babysitter.
I’m a manager.
What does that mean? It means I come in early, I stay late. I work harder than everyone else before I arrive, while I’m there, and once I leave. I think about the traffic flows and the patterns. I clean the toilets, I dust the shelves, I create schedules time and time again. I bend the rules until they’re about to break. I’m also the enforcer when I need to be…and the listener when there’s nobody else.
I want to be liked and I want people to love what they do so much that everyone walking through our doors can feel it. I believe that they do. That comes at a cost. It’s a high one. It means lack of sleep, emails all day and all night, calls and texts with questions and problems. It means holding myself to the highest standards that way I can expect that from others. In turn, I do get good bonuses and a decent paycheck. Right now I have a three weeks worth of PTO – but I’m at a place where I can’t take it because I’m uncomfortable leaving the staff alone (plus countless other meetings and events I can’t miss).
The longer I am in this role the more I believe that I might be in Denial about what it is that I do. I’ve been told several times that I’m “too nice” or “too lenient”. Am I? …I want for everyone to be happy and enjoy what we do. …but I don’t want to be taken advantage of. Every now and then the mama bear has to redirect her cubs. My team is about to get some redirecting. Sometimes it is tough because everyone is so individual in their wants, needs, and desires for their place in the company. To truly cater to that takes a lot of time, understanding, and effort.
I love it but I hate it. It fuels me and stresses me out. I’m sure everyone feels this way at one point in time or another with their job. I’m learning to be a better leader and listener. (Or I’m trying to, anyway.) I take advice and criticism and do my best to implement whatever I need to in order to have a well oiled and productive machine when I’m there and when I’m gone.
Sometimes it just gets tiring to always be the babysitter, to be one step ahead, to always be looking back over your shoulder, and listening in on conversations to help out or redirect. Sometimes you just need a vacation.