Learning From Leaders

Daily Newsletter

This is posted as part of our Summer Intern Blog Series. Be sure to come back each week as interns from around the country share their summer experiences with us!

By: Kelly Cartner, @kellyfavre4

With doing so many different jobs this summer, I have worked with a vast amount of different bosses and leaders in the last few months. Throughout my career, I have also had the privilege of working for managers I both like and dislike. As I have worked with these different people, I have been able to create a list of the type of leader I would like to be.

First, I choose my words carefully when describing a boss and a leader. In my own opinion, I see a boss as someone who just tells me what to do all the time and I see a manager as someone who manages people or a business, but is taking orders from someone else. However, a leader to me is a person who is willing to teach their staff new skills, invest their time into their staff and who is also willing to put in the hard work it takes to get tasks done.

I strive to be the best leader I can be. With the student staff I work with now, I have explained to them my philosophy on these different positions and will politely correct them if they refer to me as their boss. I want to be an educator for them and provide them with the tools to be successful in life no matter what their aspirations are. I have the privilege of working with college students who have their whole lives ahead of them, which means I also have the opportunity of helping them be the best people they can be.

When working the USTA tournament and within our athletic department, there are two leaders that have already made an impact on me. With the senior administrator I work with in athletics, he has put his trust in me to take on brand new projects that require working with the coaches on staff along with other departments on campus who often collaborate with our athletic department. He listens to ideas I have and has even implemented those ideas because I have found more efficient ways to help the department run a little smoother.

The other leader that has inspired me is the tennis coach and tournament director from the USTA tournament. The days before the tournament when it was just myself and one facility personnel setting up for the event, the tournament director was right there with us helping us set up even though it was well out of his job description. Instead of telling us what needed to be done, he was helping us with the tasks and doing just as much manual labor. I look at situations like that and I see a leader who is willing to put in the hard work and gain the respect of his staff. This truly motivated me to work even harder and showed me examples of how I want to lead my staff.

Another example he set for me was his willingness to ask my opinion and thoughts on how to best run certain aspects of the tournament. Although he has organized tons of tournaments, he asked for what I thought the best way to set up and run certain areas such as the player check-in and volunteer booth. This showed me that he valued my thoughts, respected and trusted me, and also still had the desire to learn more about his line of work.

There are many other positive qualities I learned from him over the week including his patience, work ethic and problem solving skills that I plan on implementing into my everyday life to improve my leadership qualities.

We can learn a lot from others. Not only can we learn from the positive attributes from those we work with, but we can also pick up on the types of leaders we don’t want to be if things go downhill.

Think about those you have enjoyed working for and identify their qualities that you admired to help you become the best leader you can be.