(Me giving Fusion the thumbs up this summer - Fusion! I still love you!)
by Jen Chau
So, I'm the creepy alum who goes back to Wellesley, skips into the beautiful student center, finds the student organizations area and leaves a note in Fusion's mailbox. Fusion was the mixed group that I helped to create waybackIdon'tminddatingmyselfi'mprettycutewhat? in 1997. Yup, a "Hi ladies! Keep on fighting the good fight! Love, Jen Chau, Class of 1999." Well, I learned that this last note (left during my 10 year reunion this past summer) was probably never even looked at - this is because Fusion is no longer. I found this out during my visit a couple of weeks ago when I was invited back for Wellesley's Multicultural Speaker Series.
If I currently worked for my 24-year old self, I would not be happy. Talk about a terrible manager. I did it all. I expected my direct reports to read my mind, I waited for problems to bubble up instead of confronting them proactively, I wanted my team members to "bother me" as little as possible so I could do my job, and I tried first and foremost to make my staff members my friends. I must have subscribed to: "it's better to be loved than feared." Ay, I made a mess. But I'm glad I did (Apologies of course, to those of you out there who I managed earlier on in my career - can we all just chalk it up to lessons learned?). Ok, I wasn't a monster - I like to paint vivid pictures because drama reads better in a blog. It wasn't all bad. I did some things right - I modeled the way, I always worked as hard or harder than I expected everyone else to work, and I celebrated my team members' accomplishments. Sure, I got some things right. But what I have learned about being the leader of a team is that people management is probably the most important thing I can do well, every day.