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Want to Improve Society? Take a Look Around the Office

by Linnea Grim, Hunter J. Smith Director of Education and Visitor Programs, Jefferson's Monticello on

Our work in the not-for-profit sector focuses on making society better. We strive to improve the lives of those in our communities. But how often do we look internally to think about how we can improve the lives of people who report to us?

If you are a manager, one of the most significant opportunities you have to improve lives and make your community stronger is the impact you have on your direct reports. Consider times when you have had a miserable boss. Has your daily life suffered? Has it affected those you love? For most people, the answer would be yes to both questions.

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If you have full-time employees reporting to you, you have more than 2,000 hours per year to motivate and inspire. Wouldn’t we love to have that much time with the audiences we serve through our programs? Consider the positive effect you could have through your interactions with your direct reports. If they have challenging, satisfying work, then their happiness touches the lives of hundreds of people with whom they interact.

So being a good manager matters. A lot. The tough part is that being a good manager is an art that needs attention and practice. My colleague and Developing History Leaders @SHA classmate Trevor Jones and I are constantly trying to be better managers ourselves and are dedicated to sharing our experiences with the AASLH community. Consider joining us for our Museum Management Tune-Up webinar on April 20 as we present the popular session we have led at recent AASLH meetings. We’ll offer a practical webinar geared toward history professionals that will help you learn new skills in employee assessment and review, communication, time management, and work relationships.

Whether you join us or not, remember that reaching your goal of improving society might be closer to the office than you ever imagined.

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