Aug 30, 2017
I was a crappy office manager. I had my shot back in 1988 as managing editor of Tampa Bay Weekly. The alternative newspaper had just been sold and I made a pretty good pitch to the new publisher to step in as editor. In terms of understanding the market and the nature of content the audience would enjoy, I think I had a pretty good handle. In terms of managing everyone from the production and editorial side to the advertising and circulation staff, eh, not so much. I had zero experience leading and inspiring others. I was extremely socially awkward, although I had managed to get engaged and was in the midst of planning a May wedding. Little things could easily set me off and I didn’t yet see the big picture, the long game, and all those other management clichés.
JILL GEISLER podcast excerpt: "One of the key, intrinsic motivators that keeps us all going is a sense of confidence: I want to do more of what I'm good at!"
My boss, the publisher, was based in Minneapolis and only parachuted in once a month, leaving the ad director and I in charge. He offered good advice and direction when he was in town, but we were otherwise on our own. And the ad director and I didn’t get along. That relationship went to hell when the publisher decided he needed one of the only two private offices for himself – even though he was rarely around -- and forced us to share a small space. The ad director wanted the door closed at all times because she was on the phone romancing advertisers; I wanted it open so I was accessible to the staff. It was all moot a few months later when Creative Loafing came to town from Atlanta and crushed us. In the years since, I have co-authored a number of business and management books. Shockingly, I have made a good living from that work, which is why I had a personal interest in author Jill Geisler’s new book, Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know. The book is drawn from her 20 years of experience running a TV newsroom – starting at the same age I was when I blew my shot in print. The difference is that Jill was really, really good at it.
Since leaving the newsroom, Jill has been on the teaching staff of The Poynter Institute here in St. Petersburg, where she focuses on leadership and management. She also hosts an incredibly popular podcast, “What Great Bosses Know,” heard on Poynter Online and iTunes U And because of the Poynter connection and its promotion of stuff like ethics, I will point out that I have done work for Poynter over the years, although I don’t think Jill and I have worked together before. Oh, and we’re both represented by the same agent, the fabulous Jane Dystel.