• emilyhawkins28

The Journey of an Impatient Leader (and how I turned it around)



The journey of an impatient leader

When I was a single contributor I was on fire! Kicking ass and taking names. I streamlined tasks, prioritized projects and managed time like a well oiled machine. I still made my fair share of mistakes but I quickly learned and improved.

What I didn't realize, when I became a manager, is that no one else thought like I thought, prioritized like I prioritized or even knew the first thing about managing time.

In my newfound management position I was frustrated, angry and impatient.

I felt my team should know how to work but what I came to realize was they didn't understand how I wanted them to work.

The list

One day, after a particularly trying time with my team, I found myself at a dangerous breaking point. I was very close to saying hurtful things to my employees and I knew in my heart this would do more harm than good.

I decided to lock myself in my office and turn inward. I had to stop complaining about who these people weren't and talk about who I needed them to be. I had to clarify what I required.

I opened up a blank word document and began writing, "An employee would never." I stopped myself. This document was supposed to make me feel better, not dwell on poor habits and lackluster performance. With this stroke of insight I decided to only write positive statements.

Below is a sampling from my list:

  • Understands urgency

  • Condenses a lot of information into a straightforward response

  • Understands how mistakes cause downstream problems

  • Let’s me sleep at night because I’m not worried about tasks left undone

  • I think of them as my replacement

  • Passionate and positive

  • Forces me to grow and think

It wasn't about them

After reviewing my list of wants I came to the realization that these items weren't something a person comes in with, but instead, what is taught and grown by the leader. So the real question became, who was I willing to become to make this dream team jump off the page and come to life?

The root of my leadership change was patience.

If I wanted to inspire a team I had to teach them how I thought and in order to teach anything I had to be patient.

I decided to weed my garden and start fresh. Three team members departed my group which allowed me the opportunity to hire fresh blood and change the dynamic completely.

I personally trained everyone on this team, introduced them to each department, listened, guided and listened some more.

Within 6 months of writing my list and looking at myself in the mirror my team grew into one of the most successful departments in the company.

When I decided what I wanted and realized my patience was getting in the way, everything changed.

To the team that stepped in and became a legendary department: I hold a special place in my heart for the work we accomplished and the amazing people you are personally and professionally.

You will always be my dream team.


The dream team

#ThePatienceSeries

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