• Jen Gibbs

Leadership Doesn't Have an Age

Hello party people!

It's been awhile, I know, but I'm back! These past couple weeks I have really started to learn the true ways for "adulting." From taking on a leadership role at a large company, to buying my first car, to learning how to love everyone I come across, these last few weeks have been a heavy load, but oh-so great.

After just graduating from college, it has been a little intimidating to step into a leadership position at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo (HDZ). The company is known for it's facilities, conservation efforts, and incredible employees WORLD-WIDE. How is that NOT intimidating for a fresh college grad? However, I am loving practically every second of it.

The official "title" of my position is Assistant Banquets and Events Manager. Although my eight year old self is a little disappointed that I'm not playing with dolphins every day, other animals will do for now! Becoming part of a management team includes learning new things every. single. day. But below are the lessons I've found to be the most helpful:

1.) As a leader, you never truly can please everyone.

It's important to quickly realize this fact. There's always going to be a person or people who don't agree with your decision, or simply don't like you. Do what's best for you, your skillsets, and the company.

2.) There are two ways to get respect and also get sh*t done: 1) Learn to be friends with your co-workers or 2) scare the crap out of them.

Now I know #2 can be a little off-putting but it's true, if you can scare the people who are working for you to get their stuff done, then that's what works best for you and the company culture. PERSONALLY, I have found that while working at the zoo, it's imperative to just BE A DECENT HUMAN BEING. Give a helping hand, smile and say thank you. As my mom used to always say: "You don't even have to be nice, just don't be mean." I've seen both of these tactics work well and effectively.

3.) There is always going to be work to do, but don't let that intimidate you or control your life.

Working in the events department, I work some weird (sometimes difficult) hours and there never seems to be an end. It's important to know priorities--all priorities. Making a to-do list works the best for myself. I figure out what the important aspects are for the month, for the week, and for the day. Each day I tell myself that I need to complete my list and this is done through figuring out how much I can handle, and where I need to delegate to. Walking one step at a time and finishing each task at hand helps create that work/life balance. I try my hardest to not think about work when I'm not there, I don't even check work emails, if it's really important, people can call or text me.

4.) When you're young, people most likely won't take you seriously.

This has been probably one of the hardest obstacles to overcome because it's not something that I can change, at all. I'm 22 years old and I'm not magically going to become 30 and experienced overnight. This where Lesson #2 comes into play and how you choose to be a leader.

5.) There's a fine line between customer service and legality issues.

We always want to accomodate our clients and guests the best we can, but with the Zoo being such a unique venue, there a lot of different regulations we have to abide by that not everyone may love. This is where having a firm hold on what you believe in comes to light. My top priorities always include the safety of our guests, employees and animals. Knowing the line between what is wanted done and what can be done will help settle uncertainties.

Leadership doesn't have an age--That's the most important lesson I've learned through obtaining this new position. Anyone can inspire others. So what's stopping you?

#Leadership #leader #HenryDoorlyZoo #succeed #OmahaNebraska #Omaha