The Middle Manager

Surviving & Thriving as a Leader


How do you learn?  Some people say they’re visual learners; others like to pick up a book; still others prefer a classroom setting. How we learn, and how members of our team learn is important, because we need to tailor our approach to the individual.

Think back to when you were going to school. Odds are, you had a favorite teacher.  I recall when I was a sophomore in high school I had a wonderful English teacher. She was the one who was finally able to turn on the light in my brain and helped me to understand the proper way to string words together.  Or my Freshman biology teacher, who sparked my desire to use logic and learn how things work.

canstockphoto13083726I think what they had in common was an excitement for their subject. They were able to pass that enthusiasm on to me as their student, an enthusiasm that I’ve retained for the rest of my life.

Walt Disney is another great example. He never finished high school, and many of his teachers thought he would never amount to anything. They complained about how he wasted his time doodling cartoon characters in the margins of his textbooks.  Yet today he’s considered to be a great educator.  He has schools named for him all over the country. Why? Because he had a great enthusiasm for the creative process and helping other people develop those skills.  Learning isn’t a matter of simply going to school for a few years, getting a job, and then coasting – we have to build an enthusiasm for what we do and keep working at learning new things for our whole life.

If you’re a manager, your staff knows if you’re enthusiastic about your job. You don’t have to be a cheerleader, but you must be able to show that you understand and support the vision of your leadership.  If you don’t, then you’re probably not happy, your team is not happy, and in all likelihood it’s time to start looking for a new role that will spark your enthusiasm.

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