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Wherever you are, when you were growing up, there was a sport that was more popular amongst your friends than others. For me, we primarily switched between basketball and football (with an occasional straying into wiffle ball). We would play as long as there was light, and sometimes when there wasn’t. It was a great time full of memories. However, there was always the tenuous moments before you began playing where teams would need to get chosen. How did you get on the team you wanted?
As we live our days, we get consumed with the monotonous… We have to get ready for work. We might be getting others ready too. We eat breakfast (hopefully). We make it to work. We spend 8 or more hours almost consecutively crossing off tasks on our to-do list. Then we reverse this to make it back home to our family, pets, or Xbox. Throughout all of this is a large series of decisions and actions we’ve accumulated throughout the day. How many times did you stop to ask yourself, “Am I capable of doing this?”
No matter how short or long you’ve been “the boss,” communication will always be your most challenging aspect of the job. You’ll go through recurring phases of focusing on direction, feedback, motivation, correspondence, and more. (That is, if you’re worth your salt as a leader… You’ll be bettering your leadership skills daily.) Communications are always tricky. If I learned nothing else from Daniel Goleman’s Working with Emotional Intelligence, it’s that we need to focus on communication and that communication will always be different for the situation, person, and medium.
There are tons of topics and ideas where people feel confused. For some of us it’s financing. For others, it’s stocks. Some people get confused with sports. Not everyone understands why or how football works the way it does. In fact, nearly all of us use English words incorrectly every day. Simply put, we often take knowledge for-granted. In addition, if you hold a management or leadership title, it’s possible that you might not realize the difference. Being a leader and being a manager is not the same thing. Not by a longshot.
We all have that “thing” that everyone around you knows you for. For whatever reason, I’ve been the person my entire life that everyone I know goes to for advice. It’s always flattering to be trusted in that way, but it also means that I continue to do my best to keep myself fed with information. Probably the most common piece of advice I get asked is, “I have this great job offer. Do you think I should take it?” That’s never an easy question to answer, but here’s what I tell my friends…