Thursday, October 26, 2006

How To Be An Effective Leader (and other things I didn't learn in kindergarten)

For the record, I'm still at the Hoover Public Library. And I think the last time I was here, I heard Soul For Real's "Candy Rain", just like I'm hearing now. 4,397 songs on the iPod, and that one comes up twice... amazing. "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah is next, though.

The computer works now, the transplant was successful. Our friend Brad Mac came over, did the surgery, and now the computer is in physical therapy... which means, we have to get a new network card. So, I have a computer, I just don't have a network card that functions as well as... well, at all. No 'net... but that's okay. I watched four episodes of "Jericho" yesterday on videotape, and it rocked.

We put in a new hard drive, worth about 120 gigs, and all my iPod music is on it now. So, I can fill my iPod up to the full 60 gigs, instead of keeping it around 20, because my hard drive was only 40. Gettin' all this? Anyway, the downside is, not being able to connect to the net, I can't update my iPod because I had to re-install iTunes, then move over all my music to iTunes again, to which the iPod now thinks its a different computer, so I have to "authorize" the computer so I can make the changes and updates, but I can't because I can't get on the internet and... well, you get the picture.

Had a meeting with our manager at the Bucks today. It was a little disheartening, so I thought I would just open up here and ramble a bit, knowing there is a chance that someone from the store might actually read this. I'll take that chance.

Apparently, there are three things that are hurting my ability to be an effective assistant manager at Starbucks:
1) Few people at the store know me. I mean, they know who I am, but they don't know me.
2) Communicating effectively to the team at the store
2) Building relationships with the team. For whatever reason, these three things are becoming the hardest obsticles I've ever had to jump, possibly because I've never had trouble doing it anywhere else.

I would like to think that I'm respected and have some sort of influence at church, and I'd also like to think that I have that same respect and influence with my circle of friends and loved ones. Just not at work. Perhaps I'm not connecting the two very well, and its time to let one bleed to the other.

One thing I've pinpointed is that this is the first time I've ever been in a position where I've had people under me. I mean, I've been a shift supervisor for probably, I don't know, three years prior to being an assistant manager, so I had to lead, but this is the first time I've ever directly had the power to call the important shots and do what is necessary to get the job done without a host of people to answer to--right now, there is only one or two to answer to.

(the fact that KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" just came on the iPod shuffle makes my day just a little better... couple that with an encouraging email from K-Swiss, and life isnt bad at all)

Also, I'm a task oriented person. I struggle with delegating things to people, because simply, I have a way I want things done, and usually its quicker for me to just do it the way I want it done then to teach someone the way I want it done. Yeah, that's really a good trait to have. =) I gotta work on that.

Another thing is, the team doesn't really know me that well. Part of that is my fault, I'm guessing... I don't really go around announcing facts about me like being from Samson, Alabama, or that I was at the Olympic bombing of 1996, or that I have four older sisters, but then again, I don't really ask other people stuff like that either. Something else to make a mental note on.

My team at the store are some great people. I've proven that I can do the job and do it effectively... now I've got to prove to be a leader--or at least, prove to them I can do it. Other people in other parts of my life know I can lead. Or I think they do. Do they?

If it sounds like I'm upset, don't take it as such. I was for about twenty minutes after our meeting--which is how I roll: if I get frustrated, mad, upset or whatever, I let it seep and dwell for about 20 minutes or so, 20 minutes is all I'll give the unwelcome emotion, then I'm over it. Then I work on solving the problem.

So no, I'm not upset. Now its a matter of "Can I influence people positively, and how do I go about doing it without sounding disingenious?" and "How can I lead and delegate without soundling like I'm brash and barking out orders?"
The answers? When I figure those out, I'll tell you. For now, this is my reflection.
And remember, when two things are constant: God loves me, and it's just coffee. Such is life.

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