At this time of Thanksgiving, I want to thank every employee I ever managed, I ever lead, ever worked for, or I have had the pleasure of being their peer. Every one of them helped me become a better leader and here are a few of the lessons they taught me:
Louise was a veteran Housekeeper who had seen numerous managers come in and out of her department. She left me with these valuable words I often go back to time and time again. I remember it like it was yesterday.
"Colin, you get more bees with honey.”
It was the beginning of my career, and I had no idea what I was doing. I thought barking orders was how you get things done. Louise, at least three times my senior took me aside, in her characteristically intimidating way, and shared her philosophy with me. This may have been my first lesson learned and practiced throughout my career.
Moe and Nedra taught me; It doesn't matter who is at fault in a miscommunication, but how to get communicating again. We should all be the "bigger" manager, take responsibility, and genuinely ask how to resolve the issue.
Cherlita and Dinia showed me how to be strict with my expectations but soft and kind as a person and how both of these styles can coexist.
There was an assistant manager I supervised, whose name I cannot even remember, showed me that I need to have a thorough understanding of what the team does before I can make suggestions on how they can do it differently.
A different assistant manager taught me I was never going to be the person I replaced, but I should just be me. And I would work out just fine.
A front desk agent showed me how to use the valuable knowledge of the front-line staff to improve the overall department. When you incorporate the ideas of the team, they are implemented faster and with complete buy-in on execution.
Jackie who taught me how to separate the person from the position. Everyone has a job to do but, his or her job position is not the person he or she is. How they go about it is essential, but don't judge a person because of the position they hold.
Anna who showed me as a manager all will be forgiven with a little time and kindness.
Christian explained to me the value of the practice "trust but verify."
Lynn taught me, if I want to gain the trust of my peers and team members, I need not be "Manager Man" every day. If I open up and be a real person, people will line up to follow me to the end. (Wow, I hadn't thought about that one in a while. Thank you, Lynn)
Dan, a peer, showed me I didn't always need to win. Heck, sometimes I didn't even need to be heard. However, if I make good decisions with the right reasons in mind, usually everything will work out just fine.
Jaime was the best listener I have ever met. He could make me feel truly listened to in every single conversation we had. I try to live up to this standard in every conversation, both personal and professional, I have every day.
A trio of managers taught me; birds need to leave the nest to become who they are intended to be. It may not be easy, but when you prepare them, they will leave you, and that's OK.
Liz showed me my words do matter. Words have both a positive and negative impact on those you lead, so be aware of everything you say.
Finally a team of managers, who were willing to put it all on the line for me and support me, even though it wasn't in their best interests. They helped me realize, by practicing all of the lessons I learned throughout my career, I could develop genuine loyalty in any organization.
Thank you to everyone I have worked with throughout my career. I appreciate the lessons you have taught me.
Now, take a moment and think of the lessons you have learned from your peers, take note, and offer some genuine thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving and have a fantastic holiday season.
Now, take a moment and think of the lessons you have learned from your peers, take note and offer some genuine thanks.