Don’t let great Lessons pass you By
I have recently discovered an alarming fact. Some people who have worked for me in the past do not consider me the greatest boss they have ever worked for. In fact, for some, I do not even make top ten.
In the not too distant past, I had a chap working in my team in a highly technical role. Note: I am not highly technical. The nature of his work meant that I was restricted to offering support in the most general of terms, without any real ability to provide technical guidance. We stumbled along; our interactions awkward (my fault, I tend to avoid things I don’t understand). I know, for him I was not a great boss – despite both of our best intentions. As time moves on, so did both of us and we both found ourselves with new bosses. I recently received a call out of the blue from this chap, thanking me for the trust I had placed in him. To say I was befuddled was a bit of an understatement, but it turns out that his new boss is far more technical than I am and as a result, far more involved on a day to day basis.
He believed that my “hands off approach” demonstrated that I had placed my trust in him to do the right thing by myself and the broader organisation (even though it was a result of my technical naiveties). On reflection, this fellow felt that I had given him a gift of trust and given his new circumstances, it was now something that he valued greatly – notwithstanding the fact that at the time we worked together, I suspect, he just found me highly annoying.
The lessons gained through work experiences aren’t always immediately apparent. I have learnt something of value from every single person I have worked for, but it was often not until my working relationship had moved on that I truly understood the value of what I had gained. I have been lucky to work with some inspiring, motivating, practical leaders, whose lessons I still live by today. I haven’t always had strong relationships with my bosses, but I can say that I have always learnt from them. Even if the lesson was how not to do something.
Reflection allows us to grow and in some cases, it allows forgiveness. Taking the time to reflect on your experiences, what you liked and what you didn’t like, about the person you worked for is key to developing your own sense of who you are in the workplace and what type of role you will play into your future. It is about you, not actually about them.
All of my managers have had flaws (sorry to any who are reading), and sometimes my most precious lessons have come from those flaws. However, in getting real with myself, over the years, I have had to accept that I too have flaws and judging others when I am less than perfect, is largely energy wasted.
A little something more from me:
Some amazing lessons I have learnt from my Managers (with thanks):
- Giving time to your team
- Being calm in chaos
- Fear at work does nothing for productivity
- The value of turning up
- Playing the long game
- Not doing drama
- Saying no
- Yelling rarely resolves anything