9 10 11 Want to Inspire

9 10 11 Want to Inspire -...

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Want to Inspire? Don’t Sugarcoat Your Feedback By ADAM BRYANT Published: September 10, 2011 This interview with  Tiffany Cooper Gueye , chief executive of BELL, a nonprofit organization  that assists urban children, was conducted and condensed by  Adam Bryant .   Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times Tiffany Cooper Gueye is C.E.O. of Building Educated Leaders for Life, or BELL, a nonprofit group that assists urban children. She says that “trying to dance around issues is probably the worst thing you can do” for someone you supervise. Corner Office Every Sunday, Adam Bryant talks with top executives about the challenges of leading and managing. In his new book,  " The Corner Office " (Times Books), he analyzes the broader lessons that emerge from his interviews with more than 70  leaders.  Excerpt » More ‘Corner Office’ Columns » Subscribe to Corner Office via RSS » Q.  Do you remember the first time you were somebody’s boss?  A.  The first time was as a site manager for  BELL  when I was 20. I was a college senior, and I  was supervising other college students and some graduate students. Being in that leadership  role wasn’t scary or even all that challenging. I had done leadership things throughout high  school and college, so that part was easy.  But I remember my first challenge: a colleague I was supervising, instead of jumping right  into tutoring, would actually start reading his newspaper. That kind of challenge stuck with  me for a few years — managing people who aren’t self-motivated, and the ones who don’t  quite get it. The people who are psyched about the mission, and committed to it, will thrive 
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because they’re about the right things. But how do I kick-start somebody who maybe  shouldn’t have been there? That stuck with me for a while because I didn’t know what to do  with it.  Q.  So what did you do in that particular situation?  A.  I probably let it go on for a couple of days without doing anything. What I wanted to say  was, “That’s a ridiculous thing to be doing right now.” But I had kind of rehearsed something  in my head like, “Well, maybe there’s a way you can use that story to engage your students,”  and I tried to hint at it that way. He got the message, so that worked out fine. But I did learn  a good lesson about the need to be direct.  Q.   Because it sounds like you weren’t really direct with him.  A.  Right. That first year I was too nervous about the role, and what it meant to be a  manager, and I didn’t want to upset people, and I wanted them to like me. I’ve since learned,  of course, that hinting or trying to dance around issues is probably the worst thing you can 
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