I think that we too often don’t stop to think about those who have helped us along the way, including our leaders and mentors. I recently realized that three of my former leaders will be retiring in the next few weeks. Our leaders can influence us in a positive or negative manner – these three have definitely impacted and influenced me in an affirmative way. You can read what I’ve written about them here. Below, I’d like to single out one of my former leaders and tell you what I admire about him.
More than ten years ago I went through a very difficult time at work which you can read about here. Although the Lord used this time for good, for a long time the wind was taken out of my sails at work. About four years later I started reporting to Dan. I was not necessarily looking forward to this based on what I had heard about him, which I wrote about here. But I was wrong about him – as wrong as I could be.
From the beginning, Dan was great to work for and with. He was an encourager and very supportive. As an encourager, he made me and my team feel appreciated. One way he did this was to send handwritten notecards to employees in his function who had done something particularly noteworthy. He was supportive in things that I wanted to do in my areas of responsibility (work efforts, personnel decisions, etc.) as long as I had done my homework.
A year after beginning to work for him, when a position that would result in a promotion opened up, Dan took a chance on me and we continued to work together for the next few years. During that time I did get the wind back in my sails. And about the reputation that I misjudged? I’ve told many people since then that I would take a bullet for that man. Although I no longer report to him, I’m proud to call him a friend. Maybe I can correct his rumored reputation.
We learn from all of our leaders. Sometimes it’s for good, like my experience with Dan. Sometimes we learn what not to do from other leaders as I wrote here.
Don’t forget to thank those that have helped you along the way. Let them know how they have impacted you and your story.