Things I Wish I Knew: Bridget L., General Manager

BridgetLongBridget L., GM of the Southeast England group, shares the advice she would give herself as a Branch Manager.

Bridget’s 18-year Enterprise career has spanned five Groups, three time zones and two continents. She worked as a Branch Manager in the Chicago group and then took roles in South Florida, Seattle and San Francisco. In 2015 she made her biggest move yet, heading across the pond as General Manager in the Southeast England/London group.

Here’s the advice she’d give her younger self:

On building a career:

Understand your team and prove you are committed to them. We all know giving critical feedback can be very challenging. But for each of us to reach our highest level of potential, we need to know where our areas of opportunity exist. Take the time to get to know your team, understand their professional and personal goals and prove you are committed to helping them achieve those goals. Once you do that, providing critical feedback to hit those milestones becomes easy!

Find your voice and use it! Work hard to identify what you need and what you want – and don’t be afraid to discuss it with other people. It is important that your expectations are clear and the people around you are committed to helping you achieve those expectations.

Build a support network. Make sure you have a support network – both professionally and at home.  Not every day will be easy. So it’s critical to surround yourself with people who are willing to give you honest feedback to help you get better. Key to creating that personal support network is being disciplined enough to share not just the challenges, but also the great aspects of your job.

On being a leader:

Listen! The value of making sure you listen to your team and your customers is critical to building a successful culture. It is certainly also an important general life skill – and one that needs constant work and improvement.

Be true to who you are but make sure you are prepared to adapt. Say what you mean, and mean what you say!

Challenge people to reach their highest level of potential. Sometimes you can see what someone is capable of before they can. Be the leader that challenges them, pushes them and ultimately inspires them.

On operations:

Develop your team. The more they know, the better they can be at helping you reach your goals – and ultimately their own.

Communicate clearly. Make sure the entire team knows your priorities and what direction you are headed. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they think is important to you. Sometimes it can surprise you and help ensure your non-negotiables are truly clear.

Delegate and follow up. Giving people responsibility is key to their engagement, but it requires follow up to ensure they know how to meet those expectations.