The chance came a lot sooner than I expected…or probably deserved. I was all of maybe 25 and a young woman a couple of years older than me was on probation. My supervisor really wanted to give her one more shot at turning things around and she figured it was a good way for me to cut my teeth on management.
I was given a set of criteria: Meet with her daily, create a set of goals, hold her accountable to those goals, check-in with our superiors once a week. I really wanted to succeed. I wanted to show that I could make difference, but also that I could help this young woman keep her job.
I failed. Miserably.
It turns out, the young woman wasn’t going to make it past probation, but no one told me that. I met with her once a day to review the goals she’d be given and to provide feedback on where to improve.
The first couple of meetings were hard—she did NOT want to be there (and, really, who can blame her?), and then she just stopped showing up. She was gone about two weeks after they’d “given” her to me to manage. I felt like I had let her down. It was really hard for me because I had failed. She not only didn’t make it, she didn’t make it through her entire probationary period.
To my great surprise, though, I began to move up the ladder. Who promotes a person who can’t keep someone employed for more than two weeks? It turns out, it was just a test to see how I would handle myself; not to see if she’d stay. I guess I passed that test, even though I still felt like I failed her.
On today’s Spin Sucks podcast episode, we talk about why that is—and what I learned throughout the process about managers and leaders.