“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
A friend recently told me about a boss he had when working in the oil patch thirty years ago. Anyone who has worked on the rigs knows that the typical boss in that world is a brutal, kick a** individual. It isn’t uncommon that the first mistake you make is the last.
But my friend’s boss was, in his words, a “generation ahead of himself.” If you made a mistake, he would carefully go through what happened, discuss your rationale for your actions, and talk about what you learned. Then he would respectfully go through a list of the expectations and how you could make improvements going forward. At the end – and this is what stood out for my friend – he would shake your hand. It was clear that you were trusted, respected, and expected to be accountable.
Every morning he would have the team gather for a 15-20 minute informal coffee. This was a chance to learn something about what was going on in people’s lives away from work, and for him to get to know his team. If guys came in hungover or half-drunk he would respectfully send them on their way.
This leader had an authentic way of creating a safe and respectful place to work – even though he wouldn’t use those words. His approach wasn’t about techniques or gimmicks or management fads. It came from his human goodness. It was his presence not his position.
This man set the benchmark for my friend’s leadership philosophy for his entire career. The impact on his life and his leadership lasted a lifetime.
Leaders truly create ripples in time that extend for generations.
Let us make a resolve to be a better leader today by being a better person.
Let us re-commit to leadership – the authentic way.