Leadership: Learning Through Experience

One of my first real experiences as a leader was when I was a front desk manager at a gym. I was only 20 years old and had 16 people who worked under me part-time. I was so young and inexperienced. Many mistakes were made and many lessons were learned. One mistake I do recall was not creating a culture of accountability and ownership.

Honestly, at the time, I didn’t even understand or know of this concept. There were so many times I would have to go in and work because someone didn’t communicate their schedule change with a teammate or times I would work hours on a membership payment error that was put into the computer incorrectly. All things which can be helped when there is a sense of accountability instilled and passed down from the leader.

Since that time, so many years ago, I learned a lot about myself and leadership through experiences, successes, and failures.

Here are 10 things I learned:

1.    Don’t pretend to know everything, ask questions, and learn from others.

2.    Expectations must be communicated.

3.    People’s perceptions and feelings matter even if they’re incorrect or irrational.

4.    Put people first and have a service mindset.

5.    Being a leader doesn’t mean doing it all yourself, delegate.

6.    Be in-tune with other’s communication style, strengths, and weaknesses so you can have more effective interactions with them.

7.    Seek opinions before sharing or dictating your own.

8.    Don’t forget to thank often and give praise frequently.

9.    Empathy helps you connect with your people on a more personal level.

10. Respect different ways of doing things. Other people’s perspectives may surprise you.  

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