When I agreed to take on an upper level management role in my father’s company, there was the desire to jump right in and get started, being a TOTAL boss at 22; but there was also an anxiousness in taking on a role I was completely inexperienced with. I quickly went from a newly graduated college student, to an upper level management position. I went from being a college student, to training and teaching college students all within a matter of 2 years. I also struggled to find my voice, not coming off as too much of a B*tch, but standing firm and getting my point across. I never had that chance to “dip my toes in the water” as some might say. I cannonballed straight into that water, and started swimming without anytime to catch my breath!!
Relying on my own instincts and skills, as well as trusting that my dad knew what he was doing in hiring me, I took the job and started working almost immediately. Who knew that this job I was pretty anxious of going into, would result in me growing into the inspired, hardworking, self motivated and confident boss I am today. I couldn’t possibly list everything I’ve learned throughout the past nearly 7 years, but there are 5 essential things I’ve learned that have helped develop me into the successful businesswoman I am today…
If you’re gonna cannonball, don’t hesitate…
One of the most difficult things to overcome from moving so quickly from college student to boss, is the confidence to hold true to your convictions. This doesn’t just apply to entrepreneurs, or upper level management, but any sector of your business.
No matter what department you are in, or what role you have, you are always going to be faced with people who do not think you know as much as they do. It is your responsibility to stand up for your ideas, your intelligence and make them listen. At 22 this was immensely difficult as I didn’t trust myself as much as I should have and felt the need to cover compensate by making myself sound tougher, which in turn made me sound rude, condescending and b*tchy.
You will never feel like a worthy contributor, and they will never see you as one, unless you show them you are. No matter how scared you might be to be wrong, slap on your best poker face, look them in the eye, and give them your opinion. If you’re going to do the job, do it to the best of your abilities.
Take the advice and learn from it
No matter what tier of the business you are in, mistakes are inevitable, and learning from them is the only way you will grow. Although you do need to have confidence in your ideas and intelligence, you do need to make the decision that is best for the company.
No matter how hard it might be to admit to the new coworker that he or she is right and you think their idea is better, doing so will not only help your company, but make you a better business person. Keeping track of and reminding yourself of your main purpose and motivation in working for that business will increase your value to the company, even if it does mean you don’t move forward with your suggestion. Learning how to best manage people and communicate with customers is something my father and I still work on to this day, taking his advice & constructive criticism on best ways to communicate isn’t always easy though. I have definitely fallen on my face several times, and absolutely stuck my foot in my mouth, but those lessons are the ones I’ve learnt the most from.
Know your limits
Approaching any new job, it’s exciting, scary and anxiety provoking all at the same time. Starting my career as a top level manager, I wanted to do the best I could possibly do, and I soon realized it is extremely easy to get ahead of yourself, especially when you are 22 and think you can do it all. Doing higher quality work is better than doing increased quantity of work. Everyone has their limits, and as you continue your job, you will progress gradually and become more accustomed and comfortable with your responsibilities.
Knowing your limits and knowing when and how to remind yourself to slow down is essential in maintaining high quality work and improving in your job. Make a list of the needed tasks each day of work, complete those accurately and thoroughly, and as you start to have more and more extra time, you can begin to add in those extra tasks. Burning out, when you are an integral part of running your companies daily activities isn’t an option, so its important to stay organized and know when to ask for help.
It takes time
Going into my job, I wanted to automatically be an amazing boss and impress my dad, and my other coworkers. I came into work ready to learn, and eager to improve.
I have undoubtedly improved by leaps and bounds from where I was when I first began at this company, but I am ALWAYS still learning and growing. I could never have imagined I would be where I am today and accomplish all I have accomplished this quickly. Looking back the first year I started however, I really did have doubts as to how much and how quickly I would improve and grow to be able to manage on my own without my dad holding my hand every step of the way. Day to day, it can be hard to see the bigger picture, especially when you’re focused in the trenches, but every experience helps you become a stronger leader. Getting to that point where you can look back at all of the progress you’ve made, takes time. No one walks into a new job and is automatically great at it. Even when you get great at one job, you maybe get promoted to a higher level job, and have to start all over again learning that position. Accepting the time that it takes to slowly improve and grow in your job is essential to succeeding in it.
Never lose sight of the person you intended to be
This is might be the most important suggestion I can give you. If you strive to grow, accomplish great things, increase your knowledge and become a true boss, you cannot lose sight of yourself, or who you are working to be. Its taken me nearly 7 years to get to a point where I am truly comfortable in my skin as a “Boss Babe”, but I am nowhere near the finish line. I still have so much to learn, and I continue to be thrown curve balls as my position evolves, but what I do know is who I am and that I am absolutely where I am meant to be.