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Unformatted text preview: February 19, 2011 On Mondays, Look Forward to Coming In By ADAM BRYANT This interview with Laura Ching, co-founder and chief merchandising officer of TinyPrints.com , an online card and stationery company, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant. Q. Do you remember the first time you were somebodys boss or manager? A. It was at Walmart.com , where I worked after business school. It was really challenging. I just remember thinking that it will be so easy to be a good boss because I had been frustrated with bosses before and wondered, why dont they get it? But once you start doing it, you learn so much. I think one of the things I learned was that it was really hard for me to give negative feedback. Im kind of a people- pleaser. I like it when people are happy, at work and in their home life. And it took me awhile to figure out that its better to give that negative feedback right away. I remember one person I managed who was doing an O.K. job, and I gave her constructive criticism, but I balanced that with positive reinforcement, too. I think she only heard the positive, and the negative didnt resonate. By the time we got to the review period and she didnt get a great review, we were just so disconnected. And that was a horrible feeling for me. I wondered, what did I do wrong and where did it all fall apart? It taught me that I needed to be more comfortable with giving that feedback, and that if I really care about someone, then its better to be honest with them, to want them to succeed and to say the right things that will push them to be better. Q. So how do you learn to frame those discussions? A. You know, its taken awhile for me to get comfortable doing it. A lot of it is making sure that Im authentic and that people understand me and my intentions. And so I feel more comfortable giving that feedback when they know that Im well intentioned and that I want whats best for them. So a lot of it is about investing in the relationship with that person. Its about them getting to know me and my values and how I work, and that I am sincere about wanting them to do well. Q. What were some other early lessons in that first management job? A. In the beginning, I tended to spend time with the people who worked like me and managed like me and who I felt comfortable with. And that was just really selfish, I realized, because while that was safe for me, I needed to spend time with the people who didnt work like me, so that we could work better together, and for me to understand what...
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course CSR 309 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.
- Fall '08