[Back to Be True, Be Kind, Part 2]
(Third in a series of four posts.)
8. Be nice to interns. Or even better, EMPOWER them.
When Seventeen Magazine launched its first international edition in the Philippines, I was lucky to have been one of the first interns to work there. I’d just spent the summer at my mother’s in Colorado and I literally started my second day back in Manila. Given that the staff was barebones, my editors sent me solo on shoots and assigned sections for me to write and produce. Granted, my pieces were heavily edited during those early days but the amount of trust and responsibility given to me was empowering.
(Side story—guess what one of my first feature stories was? A yoga article called “Yoga, Girl!” Who knew that 10-something years after I would actually become an instructor. 🙂 )
And you’ve heard this before…an intern could be your future boss. One of our former super-interns—then a member of the Seventeen Teen Advisory Board—eventually became an award-winning journalist who now works for Mashable. I called shotgun on her awesomeness.
9. Know when to work in a bubble…and when to come out of your shell.
Some of us are hardwired to work quietly alone, while others thrive in collaboration and discourse. I am inclined to the former but I also understand the value in teamwork. I’ve observed firsthand how brainstorming can further hone and polish an idea; resulting in the best possible and most refined outcome. But, it’s also a fine line between putting heads together and having too many cooks in the room. Discern what is needed for a project, then proceed accordingly.
10. Treat people with respect.
I don’t always agree with my boss. He is an interesting character, of which he is aware. In fact, he’s told me in the past to disagree with him more often as it opens the floor for discussion. All of that being said, I do get along with my boss and one thing about him that I appreciate is that he’s always treated me with respect. As an employee, it is important to feel valued and to know that you’re working in an inclusive environment. As a manager, it sets the tone for how you treat the people who work for you—being open to differing opinions, listening to new ideas, allowing for autonomy, and the like.
And speaking of R-E-S-P-E-C-T…
11. Be respectful when you reprimand.
Sometimes, someone in your team—a direct report or colleague—will do something out of bounds or simply not cool. If you are in a position to call someone out, do this respectfully. If you’re doing this via email, avoid cc-ing everyone and their mother. You don’t want to embarrass the offending party because there is a chance that the slight was unintentional or was simply a result of being misinformed.
12. But be prepared to be a b*tch (sometimes).
Just so we’re all clear, this is my least favorite career tip. It goes against the basic grain of my chosen second career (yoga) which happens to complement my first (beauty) and vice versa. And to quote the lovely Diane Von Furstenberg: “You don’t have to be a bitch to be successful.”
So when I say that sometimes, you need to whip out the bitch card, it doesn’t mean you have to go all out on the offensive and be obnoxious and intolerable. In yoga, we believe in cultivating one’s fire and strength in a non-violent way (a.k.a. “ahimsa”).
#12 made it to this list because unfortunately, some people simply don’t respond to niceness. Some are trained to work on the defensive and it’s not their fault, neither yours. Being tough, rough, and snarky is just you hopping in on their playing field…which you don’t have to be in for long.
13. We’re all basically making cake.
Some of us go about it quietly, calmly, and efficiently, tidying up as we go. Others like to make a ruckus and a hot mess in the kitchen. Some of us have to make multiple cakes and man a kitchen staff. Others fly solo, churning one cake at a time at a leisurely pace.
14. Never send an angry email. No. Matter. How. Furious. You. Are.
As the sender, the remorse and repair work needed isn’t worth the instant gratification you’ll feel from unleashing your verbal and written prowess. You also don’t want to be known as that person who lashes out. And you may have noticed, some emails live on.
If you must, type up the email but DON’T send it. Trust me on this one. You can even physically step away from your desk. Let it stew. Come back to it. If indeed, you find points that do need to be made across, finesse the email. As if you’re writing a five-year-old: no foul language, be concise and straight to the point, and say nothing that you will regret and may cause damage to the other person.