It came as a surprise when Shania called an urgent meeting for her employees at the Science Museum of Natural Fun, the MicroSociety venture she managed at her Girls Inc. Sarasota after-school site. A nervous hush took over the workplace as worry filled the minds of the employees. In her time as manager, Shania had never called a meeting before. And an urgent one?
“Do you think we went bankrupt?” Erica whispered to Colbee, who whispered back, “Nah. Maybe someone’s getting fired. ” To which, they were both left wondering, “Could it be me?”
Standing before this nail-biting set, herself sweaty-palmed, Shania declared, “I am going to be speaking on behalf of our museum at a think tank meeting of Florida leaders.”
A gale-force wind could have been generated by all the sighs of relief that filled the room.
“Important people like the head of the Chamber of Commerce and the County Administrator will be there. I am going to need to represent us, and I need your help,” she gulped. Asking for help was new to Shania. “I know I am manager,” she asserted, “but we are in this together.” Her nerves eased a bit as she saw raised hands.
“I will do some research to find out what you should wear,” offered Sara.
Shania smiled. “First impressions do matter,” she answered. “I should dress to impress.”
“I will make you a chart, listing all of our exhibits,” declared Sasha.
“And I can help you to write a speech,” extended her assistant manager, Claire.
Shania grinned and nodded. She had recruited a great staff. Undeniable. She would make them proud.
Seated at the roundtable the next day, Shania breezed through her presentation.
The talking points on the chart helped to guide her. The blazer made her feel unstoppable. Her speech managed to touch on all the essentials of management and human resources.
Then, the President of the Chamber of Commerce asked her a question. “So what would you say is the the biggest challenge in your job?”
She hadn’t planned on a question. Panic followed by deep breathing. Shania cleared her mind and then – and only then- did the answer come to her.
“The toughest part of my job is asking for help. Being the manager, I want my employees to know that I am a strong leader. But behind every leader is a team.”
The university dean in attendance declared, “I think you need to come present to my college students!”
And that’s when Shania realized the truth-she had put her best foot (with a slight heel) forward…and she belonged swimming in this tank. Correction-her entire staff belonged swimming in this tank.