[Back to Be True, Be Kind, Part 3]
(Fourth in a series of four posts.)
15. Be comfortable with what you don’t know
Two things. 1) This is where you hire people who are supremely talented in areas that you have yet to fully master. (Learning is a two-way street.) Also, the less you do the things that you dislike (or not that great at), the more time you’ll have doing the things you’re amazing at. It’s a win-win!
2) As you move up the ladder, people will tell you less and less, fewer and fewer things. This is where you’ll begin to appreciate the super-candid folks around the office who don’t filter what they say around you. This is normal, you’re unwittingly already doing this. Think of the last time you were at Happy Hour and said something about a higher-up; would you say the exact same thing to that person’s face? That’s what I thought. And that’s okay.
I used to sit in the office right next to two of the company’s top decision-makers. After a few months, I moved down the hall and that’s when I explicitly noticed the difference in the way people comported themselves in that small area where our bosses held offices. The conversations were distinct—whereas everyone chatted and sometimes shared secrets in hushed tones (or notes) in my newer space, people were more guarded and proper in my old spot. It was fascinating to observe!
16. Let the people who work for you SHINE.
First, you have to give your staff the tools to be successful. Then, watch them blossom in front of your eyes. Sure, if you’re a control freak (or micro-manager), this can be a bit of a challenge. And when they mess up, you’ll have to be ready to tidy up and pick up the slack. It’s part of teaching and training someone. I liken this to a conversation I had with my wedding dress designer: Some brides are so specific and detailed in what they want in a dress. In which case, they no longer need a designer—but rather, what they need is a seamstress (or patternmaker).
When my grandma passed and I had to fly out and be away from work for a whole week, my coworker, the other copywriter in my team, had to jump in on an existing project—a major print ad. What he came up with in my absence was so amazing and groundbreaking, it did drive the point home that one simply needs to trust in the ability of a person learning a craft to deliver and surpass expectations. If they don’t in the beginning, they will someday.
On another note, never ever throw the people who work for you under the bus.
17. Be consistent in the way you treat everyone.
Because people talk.
18. Power through.
It’s one thing to put up with bad behavior (don’t) and another to plow through a tough situation (yes). Some days are more challenging than the rest; some personalities, harder to decode. Power through.
19. Go out of your way to be helpful.
And mean it. Do it humbly and without being patronizing.
20. Get it out already!
Long, drawn-out timelines are a luxury for some of us. But we could learn a thing or two from our friends in television. True, there is a premium in being thorough and polishing your wares, but sometimes, you just need to get it out there. Don’t succumb to analysis paralysis. TV producers understand this, so do folks who work for SNL. Do your best, fine-tune, then put it to bed. As you repeat this cycle over and over, you get better at what you do, and over time, your “just enough” actually becomes “absolutely fantastic.”
21. When things get hectic, take a break.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive to split when your 100% attention is needed the most. But this is where smokers have a leg up on us mere mortals; they take “power” breaks. It doesn’t have to be a sabbatical (although those are incredibly lovely if you can take them), it could just be a 15-minute walk around the block or ducking into the nearest Sephora for 10 minutes (time yourself!). Sometimes, you simply need to physically distance yourself from the action to decompress and digest information, and come back refreshed, re-inspired.
22. Be who you are.
Even if you need to play the b-card every now and then, even if setbacks leave you harrowed and extra stressed at times, at the core of it all, have a strong sense of self.
Be kind, be true, be you.Other posts in this series:
Be Kind, Be True Be You
Be Kind, Be True, Part 2
Be Kind, Be True, Part 3