November 26, 2010

Reflecting on My First California Job: Design Center Manager

As I continue to read my leadership theory texts (e-books), for the Foundations of Leadership course, I'm finding so many practical applications. A case study about Path-Goal Theory inexplicably explained so much about why I was hired for my first job and was so successful at doing the work.

Few know that I was the Design Center Manager of CopyMat of Salinas when I first moved to California in 1992. Desktop Design was different back then - not many people had PageMaker skills and my self-taught talents were in high demand. What ultimately convinced the Owner to hire me was my waitressing skills - the ability to juggle multiple tasks and think on my feet. 

In this exert from a cast study in Leadership Theory and Practice (Northouse, P.G., 2007, page 140), I find myself better understanding why I was/am the perfect personality type to run a Design Center at a copy store:

Through the years, Daniel has found that employees who work best in desktop publishing are a unique type of person, very different from those who work in duplicating. They are usually quite independent, self-assured, and self-motivated. In supervising them, Daniel gives them a lot of space, is available when they need help, but otherwise leaves them alone.
Daniel likes the role of being the resource person for these employees. For example, if an employee is having difficulty on a customer's project, he willingly joins the employee in troubleshooting the problem. Similarly, if one of the staff is having problems with a software program, Daniel is quick to offer his technical expertise. Because the employees in desktop publishing are self-directed, Daniel spends far less time with them than with those who work in duplicating.