The Art of Managing People.

Hello bloggers! It’s been a full 34 days since I’ve found myself laying on the beach on my favorite pink and orange towel, reading an awesome magazine, listening to my iPod in the summer sun. Now that it’s back to reality- and back to the books- it’s time to get my junior year into gear. As my very first “official” blog post, I thought I’d tell you a little about myself/ what I did besides sit on the beach this past summer (although I’d like to just leave it at that).

I’m currently a Junior Marketing Major, International Business Minor. I work at the University’s Career Services Center, and keep myself busy as Marketing Chair of the Business Student Association here on campus. I’m obsessed with T’licious and BrewHaHa on Main Street. I love music, and have contributed a good chunk of my paychecks to iTunes. The least I can say is that it’s been a wild ride so far through academia, and it just keeps on getting better. That’s why I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve picked up over my 3 years (and counting) as an undergraduate at the university.

This summer, I worked as a Store Management Intern… fulfilled some of the stereotypical “intern” duties (i.e. coffee runs multiple times a day, photocopying stuff, etc). I was trained to help manage employees who were typically twice my age and didn’t always speak my language. Sure, I spent a lot of time going over sales goals for the week, assembling schedules, working through customer and staff complaints, and ensuring that everything went smoothly on a continual basis. But what really made my experience stand out was what I learned off the record- enhancing my managerial skills through working with people, not simply telling them what to do. I was able to connect with people from such different lifestyles than my own, I was truly amazed.

As an intern, I spent a lot of time as a “fly on the wall,” and got to not only observe positive traits in managers that I admired, but I saw some pretty awful traits as well. Although I didn’t say this in my final presentation to the District Team, one of the most obvious things I learned was how to NOT manage people. I encountered managerial styles that were totally numbers based- unconcerned with what “motivation” means to an employee, and more concerned with meeting the sales goal for the day. Realizing what motivates someone to work to their maximum potential and learning to work with that individual to bring out their best attributes is an essential ingredient for profitable business. Some of the best managers I worked with showed a true commitment to their associates, and tried on a daily basis to make them comfortable- everything from securing their lunch break coverage, to physically helping them attend customers on the sales floor during peak store hours. Sometimes, the way a manager handles one employee can be vastly different from how they handle another… and the transition from one to the other requires commitment and patience in the manager’s part. Managing is essentially “getting things done through people.” But I believe that in order to get things done through people, you must work with them and create an atmosphere of respect and motivation- no matter what industry the company belongs to.

This blog post does not cater towards Business majors. Leadership and managing skills are needed in every single industry and company worldwide. Hopefully after I graduate, if I decide to become a manager, I will do so with compassion and with an understanding of what my duties mean to the employee beyond “just do it.”

Caitlin Rogers is a Junior Marketing Major with an International Business Minor at University of Delaware. As a Student Assistant at the UD Career Services Center, she provides feedback on student resumes and helps them work to achieve their career goals.

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