Lessons: Surround Yourself With the Best

09 May 2013

I get asked by many people this question, "What is the hardest part of your job?".  And one might think the answer is getting the right clients or setting up a grand, over the top wedding.  But in reality one of the hardest and most difficult task of having a business is being a manager of a team.

Trust me, I am very far from a good manager but I've been so blessed to have a very understanding, patient, and wonderful staff possibly the best team that anyone could ask for.  A group(Anies, Gaby, "Uncle" Ben, Laura R, Lily, Nancy T, Nicole, Kate B, Joyce, Anne M. )  of amazing designers, interns, production crew have shaped me into a better manager, not necessarily the best yet but that I'm still working on.   The road to this has not been easy and I will be the first to admit this to anyone, I've made more than my fair share of mistakes, blunders, and out right miscues.  Yup, I've done them all.

Regretted things I've said, actions that hurt, and advice that was just darn stupid.   These things, I'm not proud of.

More than all of these things combined, I've allowed stress and my emotions to get the best of me.  Leading to quick, rash, and fast decisions when instead I should be calm and approach things through my team's eyes.

What I have learned is that there is nothing as valuable as an asset as a team.  And thus being an effective leader (even one born out of stupidity and trials and errors) is far more awesome than being the best designer leader.

There is no magic formula for effectiveness.  All I can say is 1) be attune to each individual 2) you don't need to be friends, you need to be fair 3) pause whenever possible when you catch mistakes and speak with the individual quickly and with caution 4) practice patience 5) when a mistake happens, promptly salvage things with a genuine mea culpa 6) let them be involved with decisions that will effect the team 7) avoid being a tyrant 8) develop calm and grace(this one is super hard for me!) 9) minimize fault finding 10) foster and develop an individual's ability through encouragement.

I'm forever indebted to my current team, many who have been with me for a decade.  And this post is for them.

Alisa Mach
Anies Charles
Anne Millett
Amy Mu
Avanie Koot
Uncle" Ben Fu
Casey Schotsag
Gabriella Reid
Heather Young
Janelle Jacky
Lily Castro
Olga Llerena
Mai Tran
Nicole Roveto
Kate Bennett, our intern! 

Bottom line: surround yourself with the best and do everything possible to keep them through effective leadership.

Thank you to Kevin Chin for the behind the scenes images! 

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1 comment:

Lemon Blossom Designs said...

This post makes me laugh! I LOVED working for you, and I think you have one of the best leadership qualities: patience! And you are so fun! It was one of the greatest experiences in my life to work for you. Remember: "Just do it!"

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