For most of my life I was a radio manager. Then I had the opportunity to be a university professor. What those two professions had most in common was the training of others, employees in the work place and students in higher education.
Be the Change
As a parent, I quickly learned that my children didn’t learn as much from what I told them but in observing how I, myself, acted. I credit my mother and father for this form of parenting because that’s how they raised their three boys.
Mahatma Gandhi put it this way:
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
I swear, I didn’t
My oldest son never uttered a single swear word until he went to school. One day when he was helping me work in the yard, he let out a loud curse.
It was then that I said to him, “you may have noticed that your mother and father don’t use those words. Neither do your aunts, uncles and grandparents. Now if you want to talk that way around your friends, that’s your decision, but around your family, please don’t.” He never used that kind of language again – at least around me.
Swearing, Part 2
Years later I would be a radio Market Manager in Iowa with a lot of employees in my stations. Not too long after I had taken over the property, my Operations Manager came into my office and closed the door. (When people close your door behind them, it’s usually not a good sign.)
I said, you look like something’s serious is on your mind. What’s up?
He said, “you’ve made a big impact on the employees of these radio stations. Everyone is afraid to swear around you because you don’t ever swear.”
Then told him that it wasn’t because I didn’t know those words but because I personally chose not to use them, but it didn’t bother me if others did.
He sighed a big sigh of relief and said he would spread the word.
But here’s the interesting result: people continued to very rarely swear at those radio stations.
Starting on Time
In my university classes I set certain standards by my actions. I told students on the first day of class that I would always start my classes on time. That I would be setting up to deliver my lectures about 15-minutes before the start of class and that when it was time to start I would close the classroom door. That closed door was to keep hallway noise out but never students and if for some reason they were running late, they could always enter the classroom, just be courteous of other students. Virtually every student was in class before the start.
Teaching punctuality came by being punctual myself.
Another lesson in punctuality came with turning in assignments by the day and time they were due. I made it very clear that late assignments would not be accepted. Period.
That’s because in the workplace, in life, everything has a deadline.
Picking Up Trash
One time when I was walking through an airport to my plane’s gate, I picked up some paper that was on the floor near a trash receptacle and placed in the can. The person behind me said, “You either own a business or manage one.” To which I smiled and replied, “Guilty.”
Everyone is watching you. Noticing how you act.
Always do the right thing. Always.
Managing Others Begins with You
To be an effective manager of other people, to train them to do things the way you wish to see them done, you must first exhibit those behaviors in the way you live your life.
Nothing is more powerful than being the change you want to see in others.