|George Tabb in 2008|
I have made lots of mistakes over my career. Years ago, I learned to let my mistakes teach me valuable lessons. I have found that I always learn best from the mistakes I have made and not from the successes I have had. After nearly 40 years as a Parks and Recreation professional, here are a few of the many valuable lessons I have learned:
• Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, rather embrace them as they are valuable and rare learning opportunities. That said; always admit it when you do make one even if it is embarrassing at the time.
• Treat others as you would want to be treated. You never know who you will be working for some day.
• Always take the high road in an argument. The low road always puts you out in the gutter.
• Always try to better your employees. They are the ones who make you successful.
• When faced with an important decision, always sleep on it if time allows. Things may look different in the light of a new day.
• Volunteers are not free. You must invest time and effort in them to make them and your program successful.
• Always let your employees have a say in important decisions if at all possible. If the decision goes their way, you have a natural supporter. If not, they will respect you for listening.
• Let your employees have a long leash. No one likes a micromanager and your employees will likely work out the best plan anyway.
• Always seek input from the public. To do otherwise creates suspicion in their minds when important decisions are to be made.
• Never start thinking that you can't be replaced. Everyone can be replaced and sometimes with better results.
• Always do your best and give supervisors and customers more than what they ask for or expect. They will be amazed.
• Be as generous and supportive of your employees as you can. Everyone needs help and understanding occasionally.
• Don't set yourself aside as being "too good" or "too important" to perform lowly or menial tasks. Your employees will work their hearts out for you once they see your willingness to take on jobs similar to what they do every day.
• Honesty is always the best policy. To be less than honest results in eventual failure or loss of respect in the eyes of others.
• Always pick your battles. Winning a fight doesn't win the war. Always argue from a position of overwhelming strength. Otherwise, it isn’t worth the fight.
• Do your best to keep your employees informed about developments within the organization. Share as much information as you possibly can with them. Otherwise, your employees will become disconnected from the organization and some may become resentful.
• Once management makes a decision, move forward and be supportive. Do not spread the seeds of discontent because the decision did not go your way.
• “Don’t make a living, make a mark.” (Eugene Patterson, newspaper editor and Pulitzer Prize winner)
George E. Tabb, Jr.
15 January 2013