I’m in the midst of a career transition. My current boss is leaving at the end of the year.
I have had five years of getting to know my boss and we have built a fabulous working relationship. We are so in sync that we read each other’s mind and emotions pretty accurately. He has high expectations. He provides the right amount of support. He is realistic, direct, and fair. I’m going to miss the familiarity and comfort. He has been a great boss.
I know at the end of relationships how valuable it is to identify lessons learned as a way to have closure and move forward.
So, what have I learned over the past five years? What are those treasured lessons?
I’ve learned the value of diversity and inclusion. Here are some random profile stats on my boss and me: male-female, white -black, affluent background- poor background, 1st generation college- college legacy, early baby boomer-last of the boomer generation. We have a list of difference but we are identical in our commitment to the success of the organization. Sometimes those differences were at the forefront and were the gateway to our path of success and sometimes they were just faded background settings. Our team was just as diversed, and we are intentional about being inclusive so all talents are maximized. As a result, our team of diverse committed subject matter experts has created projects and processes heralded as local and national models and best practices. A great boss ensures that every team member has a sense of belonging and value and differences are respected.
I’ve also learned to do the thing I like least first. Like it or not, the task has to get done. So why not put it behind me as soon as possible and enjoy the rest of the day? I found once I get started, it becomes easier even if the likability does not increase.
I’ve also learned that people appreciate good leaders. For the past three months, tears, hugs, and stories have been omnipresent. Water cooler chats, departmental meetings, and news headlines reminisce about the great things my boss has done in his career and in his life. I’ve met his mentees, witness him write numerous checks for benefits and charities, and go out of his way to attend gatherings such as taking a 10 hour drive to pay his final respects. I suspect these are only glimpses of what he has done. Inquiring minds may never know. He’s that kind of guy. No level of technology can replace the essential human touch in leadership.
So, I have a few more days with this man whom I truly respect and admire and still a few tears to shed, but the lessons I learned are tattooed on my heart forever.