Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction. ~John C. Crosby
I was talking with my boss the other day regarding his position at the company. I found out he is on a delegation in the US for three years and, at the end of the three years, he may elect to stay in the US or he may elect to have a delegation to another country, or he may go back to Germany. Since he has been working in the US in my department, I have seen a marked improvement in the way the department is run. People are seeing a plan for their future, are experiencing a work environment where their skills and interests are being more closely aligned with the work they are assigned, are receiving the training necessary to ensure their skills are current and growing, the morale, which was low due to high pressure projects and a perceived lack of caring by the company, is changing in a positive direction.
I casually remarked that I didn’t think I would want to continue working at the company if he was not running the show or, at least, running in my department. The change has been so positive, the thought of it reverting to a time before he came on board is a world in which I don’t see myself thriving as I am under his tutelage. He looked at me and said that he would take me with wherever he went because he likes that way that I think. I said thanks for it felt very good to be appreciated, felt very good that my contribution to the company is being recognized. The final thing he told me was that he thought I was doing a great job. I said thanks again. He said, I don’t think you understand, this is a German that says you are doing a great job and that really means you are doing a really great job. The implication was that it was much higher praise than those same words coming from an American because Germans have a much higher standard on excellence.
As I reflect on that conversation, I can’t help but smile. I don’t recall, in my 27 years of professional life, anyone ever singling me out for such high praise, can’t recall anyone even hinting that my work was so highly valued that they would take me with them as they worked their way up the corporate ladder. The appreciation of my talents had definitely infused me with a heightened desire to perform at a level nothing short of awesome.
This heightened level of motivation level is not based on an increased salary or promise of promotion or any tangible offer. It is based on appreciation of the uniqueness I bring to the organization, an appreciation of a manager that I have grown to admire, a manager who’s method of leading people is one that I espouse to achieve myself. I can honestly say, I have never been happier in my work than I am right now. I find myself enjoying going to work, find myself looking forward to my 5:30 am alarm clock because it means I will be at the office by 6:30 am, at the office and doing what I do best, leading people.
As I ponder my job, I can pinpoint three individuals I work with that I would like to have on my team wherever I work, three individuals I believe are outstanding leaders, outstanding in what they do and outstanding in that they bring excellence into any endeavor they undertake, three individuals I would go out of my way to ensure we continue a working relationship and continue in friendship.
The sad thing is, I have not told them of my admiration for them as people and workers, not told them how valuable they are to me and to the company, not let them know of the high esteem they have in my eyes. This is for me, an unthinkable shortcoming in my leadership. This is a situation I must rectify when I go back to work on Monday. I am going to tell them that I believe they are awesome in the work they do and that wherever I work, I would love to take them with me.