This post was originally published on YMCA of the USA's This Week in Young Leaders blog on 8/5/14.
The word itself is very simple, but it can mean much more. Among many adjectives, a boss is a leader and a decision maker, but have you ever thought of yourself as a protector and a coach? Simon Sinek, a management theorist, gave this TED Talk that charges leadership with the responsibility of creating a safe environment for their staff. In this case, I don’t mean “safe” as in spreading salt on a slippery sidewalk leading to the office or changing the tires of the company vehicle which, for the record, are both safe things to do. I mean “safe” as in making your staff feel as though you are genuinely invested in their best interests and growth.
I had a boss who was great at this! When addressing the decision I made, he asked me why I made that decision. 9 times out of 10, the circumstances surrounding the situation justified the decision. Those handful of times that I made the wrong decision, we discussed the other avenues that I could have pursued and why and moved on. You can be sure I never made those mistakes again, but I felt privileged to be coached by someone who ALLOWED me to make mistakes without fear of losing my job.
The next time you are faced with these types of situations with your own staff; take a step back. Discuss the process and create a safe environment where reasonable mistakes are allowed and learning from them is encouraged.
Melissa has been with the YMCA of Greater Cleveland since October 2012 and currently is a Regional Membership Director for the west side branches. Before working for the YMCA, Melissa spent 8 years in the television industry, working in sports production as a director and producer and later in promotions, marketing and special event planning.
Melissa resides in Avon, Ohio with her husband and their two wonderfully energetic kids.