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by B.J. Rogers

See if this sounds familiar:

Congratulations! You’ve never managed anyone before, nor had any formal training (or any informal training for that matter) in supervision or management. But. . .you’re REALLY great at your current job, so we’re promoting you to manager. . .a role in which you’ll supervise three staff (two of whom were lateral peers mere seconds ago). Good luck!

It happened to me and I’ll bet it’s happened to more than a few of you. It happens All. The. Time. You perform well over time, meet or exceed expectations, show a dedication to your organization, and – next thing you know – you find yourself with an exciting opportunity to take on some additional responsibility, often including the addition of direct reports.

My approach? Despite mountains of self-doubt and a raging case of imposter syndrome, I opted for the time-tested “fake-it-til-you-make-it” strategy. So here, in this public forum, I’d like to extend a heartfelt apology to everyone who reported to me early in my career. Heck – let’s just make it a blanket apology to everyone who’s reported to me, ever. I’m sorry for trying to figure out how the hell to be an effective supervisor at your expense.

The first time I received any real leadership or management training was probably almost a decade ago. In and of itself, that’s meaningless. Thing is, I’d been an executive director TWICE by then. I had been responsible for dozens of staff and millions of dollars. Best I can tell, I got by on a couple of decent instincts, an occasional flourish of uncharacteristic charm, and a windfall of dumb luck.

But I also messed up. A lot. I probably hurt some people, made some really misguided decisions, cost my organizations some money, and learned a bad habit or two that I’m still trying to undo. All of that – plus seeing the toll that ineffective (or even incompetent) leadership and management can have on an organization – led me to not only seek out formal training, but to commit myself to helping others in our field access opportunities to solid and affordable training. Enter, Emancipet New School.

At ENS, we feel strongly about our movement’s capacity to bring about social change; to create transformative experiences for our staff, volunteers, clients, and supporters. We also believe that requires a dedication to learning, to challenging what we “know,” and to bolstering our leadership and management skills so we can provide the service, direction, and facilitation needed to keep our organizations healthy, honest, and impactful.

That’s why we offer courses like Next Generation Leadership and Veterinarian to Leader. If you’re like me, and you’re someone who’s found themselves tossed into a new position without much by way of training to support you, then check out what we’ve got to offer. I promise you it’ll be worth the time and modest cost. But don’t take my word for it! Here are a few comments from folks who’ve attended one of these courses in the recent past:

It [Next Generation Leadership] was a tremendous learning experience in self-awareness! …I have to say that this was the best seminar I have been to in many years and have never had the opportunity to learn such invaluable material. It’s my opinion that everyone would have something to gain by attending.
-Susan Waits, City of Irving Animal Services, Irving, TX

…The Next Generation Leadership seminar taught me so much about myself as a person, and the strategies to become a better manager also extend to any relationship in your life whether that be co-worker, spouse, family or friend. I’m excited to begin my practice of strengths based leadership and look forward to building my existing and new relationships this way.
-Michelle Lago, ASPCA – New Bern, NC

This particular topic came at a very critical time for me, and therefore was extremely useful for me to go forward in my current role as a Medical Director. I did not expect that I would get this much out of it and frankly it has been life-changing for me. I would recommend this workshop [Veterinarian to Leader] to anyone.
– Julie Hollifield, DVM, Humane Society of Manatee County, FL

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