monthly newsletter 7
monthly newsletter 7

The Middles: Standing In The Muck To Show Your Team The Way

People appreciate working for folks who do the dirty work that goes unseen. How do you show your team the way? P. Kim Bui talks setting the example.

P. Kim Bui’s thoughts for new/emerging leaders – on management, work-life balance, self-care and more.

I was going to write this week about the precarious situation of recommendations, but then my brain got on a different tangent.

You see, last week I had one of those weeks where I direly missed writing stories and working on things that moved much, much faster than culture change or new strategy building.

This week is better, not because I realize that those things take time (of course they do), but because I sat down and did some dirty work.

My biggest fear is becoming the kind of person who is known for talking, not doing. Doing is not just the kind of doing that got many of us into these jobs: the coding, the activism, the story writing. Doing sometimes moving a story forward, making that Gantt chart, creating that deck, having that awkward conversation. It’s certainly not the glamorous kind of doing, though.

But look at the people who don’t do the unglamorous dirty work. They’re the type that aren’t always appreciated by their peers. A long time ago, a friend at the Seattle Times told me that David Boardman, the top editor at the time, literally sat down and started writing/transcribing/what he could do during one breaking news scenario.

People appreciate working for folks who do the dirty work that goes unseen. Part of culture change and moving people ahead is showing them the way, so how can we foster new leaders that take on all the challenges if we’re not willing to do it ourselves?

So congratulations to you, because I’m sure all of you did one thing that was unglamorous, dirty and probably (generally) unappreciated. It makes you a better leader.

About the author

P. Kim Bui

P. Kim Bui is the editor-at-large for NowThis News, focusing on original, social reporting and breaking news. Prior to NowThis, she was deputy managing editor for, a digital media startup specializing in social journalism. Her career has focused on leading breaking news initiatives and new storytelling forms for local, national and global audiences.

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