As we return to my regularly scheduled Greatest Hits Series: I’ll take you back to my first year as Senior Class Sponsor.
I was in WAY over my head.
I remember it was Grad Bash evening and something went wrong (in hindsight, it’s really the chillest (and BOY do I mean the chillest – like using parentheses inside parentheses kind of chill!) thing that has ever gone wrong since then, but this is how I learned that lesson). I was dealing with the problem by staring at my Dean (I don’t think that he was an Assistant Principal then…all years run together) and trying super hard not to cry — and by trying – I really mean failing.
Everyone around me was telling me the things that needed changing about future events. I started to lose it. He looked at me, saw the slow mist of tears start rolling in and he was like “NOPE! I wont have anyone make you cry, I’ll fix this.” And that was that. This was my event. I realized that this was my event and I had to get my act together and fix my problems. I certainly used his help. (Thank goodness he was there… he really smoothed things over for that situation — Thanks Dale, if you ever see this!) But I learned a lot about my leadership style that night.
I learned that I hate it when an event is going on and someone suggests something on how it could be better in the future. Personally, I think if it’s not something we can immediately change, don’t tell me right then. Let me emphasize: I LOVE SUGGESTIONS AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. For real, I think it helps me see things from other perspectives – but I just don’t think it’s helpful at certain times. Write your suggestions down. I’ll read them! I promise! Or pull me aside later that week after the event. Telling me in the middle of an event of something I literally cannot change until the next installment of that event – perhaps a year from now – is never going to help and it’s going to provide unnecessary angst. Not only because you’re pointing something out that’s going wrong (that I probably can see myself and am kicking myself for it’s failure) but because I have to then remember it after the fact, and sometimes it gets washed away in the sea of collapsing that event into a long term brain file.
I try to keep this style in how I offer suggestions to other people. Why frazzle someone on the job unnecessarily if we can talk it through with clear heads afterwards? That’s also why I try to keep a cool head during big events – even if it’s clustery. Freaking out is never going to help.