As mentioned in my last entry, I will go into more detail on my experiences in Management, Maintenance, and Customer Service.
St. Mary Catering
When I was in high school I worked for a local catering company. I started off as a dishwasher doing all the grunt work that no one else wanted to do. Eventually by performing the tasks quickly and efficiently by supervisor took notice and in no time I took over leading the small team of dishwashers that we had. As the head of the dishwashers, I had some more responsibilities; namely keeping the industrial dishwasher in good working order and our team on task. Being dedicated to this position and helping the cooks with various tasks I was soon promoted (when I became legally allowed to cook at 17) to being a fully fledged cook. In this position I was responsible for helping my supervisor; the head cook, prepare the day prior to an event, prepare and cook the day of the event, and perform basic maintenance on much of the cooking equipment such as the gas stoves, fryers, and ovens. I stayed in this position for the remainder of my high school years and a couple of summers after starting college. My last summer working there, was when I learned the most of management because early in the summer the head cook quite leaving me with all the responsibilities of ordering enough food, taking inventory, scheduling the cooks and busters, and working the our food sales representative.
While in high school I had another major experience in managing others; that is from earning my Eagle Scout award. This experience has had a profound effect on my life. For a scout to earn the rank of Eagle Scout he must first work his way up through the ranks of scouting (6 total), earn at the very minimum 21 merit badges, and among other requirements, plan and carry out an Eagle Scout leadership service project. For my service project I designed and built a pavilion for the town's police department's gun range. This project took over 250 man-hours to complete and countless hours of planning, meetings, and obtaining approvals. This by far is a major task for anyone, let alone someone under 18. The primary goal of set by the Boy Scouts of America for the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project to for the young man to apply the different leadership skills he gained advancing through the ranks.
What I learned
From these experiences I have learned a great deal about myself and how to manage a team of people towards a common goal. My primary way of leadership is to lead by example. I feel that if the leader is unwilling to do what he asks of those he is leading he cannot gain any credibility. When employees notice their boss doing multiple jobs, even the "grunt work" they are more willing to pick-up other tasks as well. While I lead others, I also like to help them learn new skills they didn't know they even had. By doing this it gives them more confidence in their abilities and are happy that you helped them learn. The more you can teach other new skills, the more likely they are to stick around to help more. Similarly, after you teach your employees new skills you can then better delegate more responsibilities to those who are showing a development of leadership skills on their own. By delegating you are then better able to focus on more important tasks at hand without the worry of the smaller or day-to-day tasks. My management experiences have also taught me the importance of advanced planning, but also to be flexible with that plan when your situation unexpectedly changes. Have a plan gives you an outline of what you need to accomplish and how to plot your course of action or actions. The final key learning point I will mention here – and there are many other skills besides the ones I mentioned – is in the spirit of scouting, "Be Prepared." You never know what is going to come your way whether it is a disgruntled employee or a natural disaster or something not even related to work. You must always be prepared, otherwise you will be prepared for nothing.