Meet Sarah Brown
"It might sound odd, but i love managing people."
I have spent my career learning with and from the folks I have managed.
These relationships have taught me the impact of showing up as a human first. Some of the lessons I have learned come from the moments when my employees trusted me enough to be their full selves. Here are a few examples I carry with me:
I value learning from the wisdom, expertise, and experience of others.
For some managers, feedback can be hard to hear. Some avoid it at all costs. But I thrive on people naming “the thing” – because it matters to my own, my business’, and my employees’ growth.
An employee that valued traditional standards of professionalism and had a distrust of authority once took the courageous step to name issues with policies I had developed. They were nervous. I was taking deep breaths. This vulnerable conversation opened the door to a deepening of our relationship that allowed them to feel more comfortable sharing again and again (and again and again). These insights ultimately informed strategic changes in the business’ work (also again and again).
I see the whole person as more than any mistake they have made – even a big one.
The term grace has been reflected back to me a lot. Non-judgement shows up in my management style in this story: A new employee once said she knew she was in the right job when she observed me respond to a colleague’s big mistake with kindness and consideration. People are afraid to screw up at work. I normalize that we all screw up at times. Good management focuses on what we will do differently the next time.
I grow innovators, creators, and contributors.
Some people hold back on sharing ideas in the workplace because they’ve experienced managers not listening to or incorporating what they have to say. As a longtime manager of a large team, I developed a culture in which my team knew that I not only wanted their input, but that their ideas would be woven into the fabric of our business – and not just their input, but their wild ideas, hard questions, and generative innovations, too.
These experiences – and many more – are what managing with a human approach is all about. My skill-set derives from 17-plus years experience cultivating direct and authentic dialogue, providing personalized support, trusting people to trust themselves, and building some stellar relationships and teams.
As Deputy Director at OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling, an Asheville, North Carolina-based financial services agency serving over 7,000 people annually, I directed programmatic innovation and delivery; shaped strategic and financial directions; and supervised all mid-level managers, program, and client services team members. Over my 14-year tenure in that agency, I designed a diverse portfolio of training programs for employees, managers, and clients. Working with a variety of teams – including my own – I facilitated processes and experiences to humanize systems, transform cultures, and adapt programming to meet emerging needs.
Now, as Owner, Lead Trainer and Facilitator of Into Right Relationship, I work in collaboration with trusted colleagues and professionals whose expertise complements mine.
Many of my former employees have said that I am the best manager they have ever had, and they have encouraged me to keep teaching and mentoring others. With their words of encouragement and affirmation ringing in my ears, here we go!
You and your team are worth it
When you relate to your staff – human to human – and engage their whole person, they stay longer, work harder, and innovate more creatively. Why? Because they want to work with you.
When you manage your entire team from a place of deep listening and honest sharing, the compounding effect is tremendous. Working into right relationship, I see individuals thrive, teams coalesce, interpersonal relationships deepen, loyalties increase, and collective buy-in go through the freaking roof.
That’s the juice that makes me love managing with a human approach.