I have been learning to be an effective leader – and a role model – for the past two years, ever since I applied for a position as shop and staff co-coordinator in a small company.
I struggled a lot in learning to hold this position. It is like being in a sandwich between the owner, the customers and the staff, and feeling responsible for almost everything.
I wanted out at times, I soldiered on, hardened, tried to control situations, etc., but I am still holding this position today and I have made it my everyday commitment to learn how to be me as a woman in this environment and how to make it work… and how to make it fun.
What I am learning is the less I try to fight and control the situation, the less I try to counter pressure with pressure – and the more I allow myself to connect and see the person, be it customer, owner or staff – the easier it gets.
The less I do and the more I allow myself to be, the better we work together as a team, the more things flow and work out in miraculous ways.
I feel one of my major downfalls when I took on the job was that I got so overwhelmed by what needed to be done, I lost sight of the team/staff who were actually there to support me in my task. Whenever I stop focussing on what needs to be done, demanding this of the staff, and start instead to focus more on the person – connecting with them, making sure they are in sync with everybody else – the more they get done in a shorter amount of time.
I can say the pressure and the complications are there whenever I make it about things and not about people.
I have found that if people feel seen and appreciated, they naturally have what they call ‘a good day’. When people feel great, they are naturally more productive, they are more motivated, they get more done and they are naturally fast, because there is nothing in the way.
My position is therefore more about my being a leader and a role model, and not so much about taking charge, giving orders or doing all the ‘important’ jobs.
In fact, I have given a lot of the ‘important’ jobs to other staff members and they do them so well that it sometimes looks like I am not needed at all. I do a lot of the odd jobs, that people don’t like doing, like cleaning, tidying, etc. I do what needs to be done to have things flow.
At the end of the day, what I am learning is that it is all about me and what I role model in the workplace. Because people look at me all of the time – the staff, the owner and the customers – I am a focal point because I have a nametag that says ‘Shop Co-ordinator’.
So if it is about me, then it is about everything I do – the way I
- Prepare for sleep after work.
- Get up and lovingly prepare myself for work.
- Eat so I can support myself at work.
- Conduct myself at work.
In other words, it is about my commitment to supporting and caring for myself, so I can be present and alert whilst at work and can focus on what is going on around me.
Working like this is more fun as I feel good within myself; I am more open to connect with others because there are fewer things on my mind.
I have discovered if I let people be and allow myself to just be myself, I have a lot more understanding and acceptance of them.
And everyone, no matter how they behave, has a part inside them that likes to play and have fun. When I meet someone I look for this part – sometimes it takes a little while to uncover it, but it makes my day when I suddenly see the sparkle in someone’s eyes or a smile appear on their face.
So it is ALL about me – never about me being accepted and recognised – but about me being a living example of how it can be done in an easy, playful and fun way.
In the end anyone who claims back and takes responsibility for their life and well-being will stand out and be seen, whether their name tag reads ‘Manager’ or ‘Shop Assistant’.
Potentially, every one of us is a leader and a role model. The question is, are you willing to truly take the lead?
By Judith Andras, Germany