Monday, September 22, 2014

Autumn Photographs: Windows, Lights, And A Cat

It may be because today marks the first day of autumn, but I’ve been especially inspired to take photographs of images that seem fallish.

This time of the year things start to slow down, get quieter, and moodier-looking. And I like that.
I’m probably one of the only people on this planet who enjoys when the days get shorter and the nights longer because deep down inside I’m a creature of the night.

I savor this time of the year as we move into my favorite season of all. And already I can feel the shift. I can feel that tiny bit of cooler air moving in and the humidity lifting. I anticipate the day when I can wear turtlenecks and jackets and start eating cinnamon chip and pumpkin scones from Starbucks. And heartier comfort foods, like: warm soups, stews, chili, and breads. And let’s not forget about hot apple cider and darker, full-bodied red wines.

I have even seen pumpkins on sale in the grocery stores and it made me smile. Aren't pumpkins the cutest damn things? They always look so bright and happy. Whenever I see a pumpkin I want to hug and kiss it. 

Oh, and one more thing, which I know will make most of you go, "OH...HOW GROSS!" I love candy corn. And not only do I love how it tastes, but candy corn holds such fond Halloween memories for me when I was a kid and went Trick-or-Treating. In fact, whenever I eat it I feel like a kid.

Over the past couple of weeks I took my camera and roamed around the city, capturing images that felt autumn-like. However, I did cheat a little and used a bit of editing to enhance the mood in some of these photographs.

Please enjoy…

#1- Light from within

#2 - Old chairs

#3 - Alleyway

#4 - Tavern

#5 - Window

#6 - Cellar light

#7 - Cat silhouette

Happy Autumn, folks!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Art Of People Management

Throughout my career in retail, I’ve managed only two other stores besides the one I’m managing now. In between, I have also managed several cosmetic counters in department stores. I’ve learned a great deal about the technical aspect of management, but more so about the employee aspect of management. And for me, the employee aspect is the most important, yet the most challenging.

Now I have to admit that when I first started managing, I sucked, because I hadn’t developed people skills. And in management, it’s all about people skills.

I was extremely demanding and intolerant; assuming that my employees would work the same way that I did. So when they didn’t live up to my expectations, I got very frustrated and verbal about how I felt. I think I could have, had I been wiser, handled it much better than I did back then. I believe it was more about me trying to control everyone as a way of letting them know that I was the boss. But in reality, I was out of control because I didn't know how to manage properly.

But over the years, I’ve discovered that everyone works differently and has different strengths and weaknesses. And as a manager, it's up to me to observe what people's strengths are and empower them to use those strengths. But at the same time, guide and help them to improve on their weaknesses.

Management takes a lot of patience. And that's another thing I had to learn because I'm not a very patient person. I finally had to ask myself the question, "How would "I" like to be managed?"

Here are some of the ways in which I now manage:

Having Fun
I like to create an environment that is fun because it makes coming to work so much more enjoyable. I do think it’s possible to have fun and work at the same time.

Saying Thank You
I also feel it’s very important to let your staff know that they did a good job. At the end of each day, I make it a point to tell every employee, “Thank you for your hard work”, because it not only allows them to feel appreciated, but also feel positive about themselves.

Being Part of a Team
When an employee feels part of a team, they know that their part is needed to make up the whole. I think this allows everyone to feel that what they contribute to the workplace is important and strive to do their best.

Word Wise
I’ve become more tactful and word wise in my management. I am more conscious about the way I speak to an employee when something needs to be addressed. I will usually take a few days to think about what I want to say, so that I say it in the most productive way.

Lead By Example
Personally, I have been most influenced by managers who managed me, and led by setting a good example. Those were the managers who gave me the foundation for my own skills.

So perhaps the art of people management is not really about managing, but more about leadership and coaching.

I've learned a lot over the years about what it takes to be a good manager.

And I'm still learning.

Have a fantabulous weekend everyone!