I first became a manager at 24, the year that we started the business. I had never managed anybody before that, and everybody I hired at that point was older than me, with more working experience than me.
I had to learn management the hard way—on the job. I made many of same mistakes that all new managers make: I tried to be everybody’s best friend. I did whatever I could to please them and to placate them. I hoped that if they liked me, they would do what I asked them to do. Well, this obviously did not work. I was so bitter with that experience that I swung to the other extreme of the pendulum. I became a hard b***h and I drew a clear line: I am the boss and you better do what you are told! You probably have guessed the outcome: I just ended up with some very disgruntled and unhappy employees.
That was when I realized that I needed to seek balance. I needed to discover my own leadership style. And over the years, I found a formula that works for me. Here are four key steps to my leadership style.
You might be surprised how crucial this is. On the days that I am not smiling, the mood in the office is completely different. My mood creates a ripple effect across the entire office. As a leader, I have learned that it is important to show up—and show up with a positive attitude. Nobody likes to work in a place where they have to constantly walk on eggshells.