Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From Manager to Leader…My Own Personal Journey

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I was the best.
(well, at least in my own mind)

No one could build displays, order product, stock shelves, take inventory and write schedules better than me.
“He never slows down, runs around 24/7..."
"…Bob is the hardest worker I have ever seen.”
(words often expressed by my co-workers and Store Managers.)

So why was I passed over for upper level management time and time again?
I was a great manager, everyone said so. I was winning all the display and selling contests.
I was the best at getting work done, and lived by the credo: if you want something done right you need to do it yourself.
In fact, every time I would go on vacation, I would return to deplorable conditions and I would have to work overtime just to get the department back up to standards.
Again, so why was I not promoted?

In one word…leadership.
I was lighting fires under the feet of my employees instead of inspiring the fire in the hearts of my team.
And then I was given a revelation…a great mentor of mine said:
“Bob, it's not how good your department looks when you are here, the true test of your leadership is the condition of your department, when you are not here.
We want our managers to work smart not hard.
Yes, you will always have to pitch in, but you need to let go and have your team pinch hit for you, you can’t always do everything yourself."

From that point on, I realized:
Managers live for the task, leaders live for their team.

Three months later, I was promoted.
***This is just a sample!... if you would like a full slice of "Pecans of Wisdom", be sure to indulge yourself in my upcoming book, "Pecan Pie", fresh from the oven, early November!...stay tuned! “Copyright (10-13-2010) by Robert V. Gambone Sr.”