There are times when I second guess my leadership style and skills. Every once in a while there will be a moment when I overhear something that makes me stop and ponder if the way I handle things is the best way. I like to think that the self doubt is healthy and it is what keeps me in check so that I am constantly evaluating what might need improvement. I want to continue growing as a manager and changing with the times which means that continual improvement is a necessity.
After hearing what a bad seed employee from the past had to say about me a few weeks ago, I started to evaluate how I’ve handled situations in the past and was disappointed that they felt the way they did. For a moment it made me question if everyone had felt that way, until I received the most wonderful email from a past employee of mine. In my moment of self doubting I scrolled through my emails and found this day altering message:
Today in class we were asked to write a Leader we had, that we felt was a good role model and reasons why. I wrote down your name. Just wanted to let you know I probably wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t contacted me that day on Facebook and offered to help. Thank you…”
This was someone who I had hired and had the pleasure of working with at a different company. Since then she had also gone out on a limb and taken a chance to joined the management team at the company I currently work at; despite it not being a full time position. We are now equals on paper and, to be honest, I always thought we were even when I wasn’t supposed to look at things that way. After a few months of work our company asked her to join a prestigious program for new leaders that sets them up for success on the road ahead. Part of that journey is going to the class she mentions above.
I thought the email couldn’t have gotten any better, but when I scrolled down I found an actual photo of what she had written in her class and it warmed my heart more than she’ll probably ever know. She couldn’t have send this to me at a more perfect moment in my day and this goes down as a huge highlight in my life. It reminded me that I can make a difference and that leading from the heart isn’t a bad thing, but a style of leadership that I’m perfectly suited and proud to exhibit.
This is my opportunity to publicly thank her for the email and the photo. To me this is better than any recommendation letter a boss of mine could have ever written. I wish her only the greatest success on her journey to find herself as a leader and hope that our paths will cross again in the future. I’m sure she could teach me a thing or two and I would be more than happy to do anything I could ever do to help her again in the future.