When someone tells you the story of their first job, it often goes something like this:
I got a job at (insert fast food restaurant) which was fun at the start but then quit after a year to find a better job.
My first job story goes a little differently…
I was employed by a male retail store with a conflict of emotions. On the one hand, I was ecstatic that I had finally been accepted after a year of applying for jobs. On the other hand, it was far from my ideal job, and I was convinced that I would leave within my first year.
4 years later, and I owe a lot to that one company and employer that decided to give a 15-year-old with no experience an opportunity to step out into the real world.
Upon reflecting on the last 4 years, there are three main things that I’ve learnt.
Firstly, the importance and value of experience.
It’s become a cliché nowadays, but nothing beats experience. What does experience allow you to do? It enables you to respond appropriately to a range of situations. The more you do something, the more you learn, and each time a new scenario arises, you can utilise all your previous experiences to make the best judgment. There’s a good reason why more and more employers prefer to look at someone’s practical experience rather than academic results.
However, experience is only as good as your capacity to communicate effectively. Communication is an essential skill, and one that I continue trying to improve on. If you’re unable to translate your experience into words, that experience can become obsolete. It is the combination of experience and communication which creates great leaders. Leaders who can compassionately direct a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.
The combination of experience and communication skills foster and grow great leaders who can achieve success. However, the approach and attitude of the leader is what makes the ultimate difference.
Kindness and humility or rudeness and arrogance. After all the experience, all the growth of communication skills, the decision comes down to humility or arrogance. How will you conduct yourself as a leader?
LOWES has taught me the power and extreme capacity for success that a kind and humble leader contains. At times, leaders need to be firm, strict, or even persistent to get their team’s attention and re-direct their focus. But, this approach is only effective in specific situations. For the other 90% of the time, it is through kindness, patience and humility that you can lead a team towards success.
These things that I’ve learnt at LOWES will stick with me for the rest of my life. When I walked into the shop for my first shift, all that I thought I would be doing was folding jumpers and tidying clothing racks.
Instead, I’ve learned the importance of experience, the value of communication skills, and how kindness and humility are imperative qualities for any leader’s success.
You can find my LinkedIn post in relation to my resignation from LOWES here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6777738169157853184/?commentUrn=urn%3Ali%3Acomment%3A(activity%3A6777346797305237504%2C6777738093144498176)