Today, I spent much more time in the home office than I wanted, working on end of term assignments. Good news: I finished everything! Bad news: I neglected my boy for the bulk of the day. So, as I write this, I’m feeling like a bit of a heel for making him endure another lonely Sunday. I only hope that–one day–he understands why I didn’t get to spend as much time with him as he would have liked.
That is not the hat du jour, though.
I had a great opportunity, Friday, to spend some time with a couple of the gentlemen that I worked with, the last few years. In fact, they are two of the three that have taken over my responsibilities, since I left. And, though we were meeting socially and as equals, I still felt overwhelmed with how much they appeared to still respect what I had to say. It was so much fun to share drinks and fellowship with them, and it reminded me of a hat that I wore while I was their boss: The Counselor’s hat.
Now, the hat in the picture has been altered to protect the innocent (that would be me…don’t want any trouble), but under the big smiley face is the logo that graced every day of my life for the past several years. Looking at all of the metaphorical hats worn, while I was there, the counselor hat is one that I think gave me some of the greatest rewards.
The longer I was in my leadership position, the more my opinion was trusted and the more my input was requested by those higher on the perch. And while advising on ideas and strategy is so rewarding, I think counseling those in my charge came with even greater rewards. It saddens me that much of the work I did from my seat may be nullified by someone only interested in managing, not leading. But, I did my best to impart whatever wisdom I had so the program I took over and grew would maintain its integrity. I’m certain that can happen, but it may be a little rocky.
If I may put on the counselor hat beneath the hidden logo, once more, I think I would try to impress just how important it is to be a good leader. You see, I always had employees that went out of their way to help me, but I truly feel that it was because I did the same, for them. So, here’s some bullets to bite. I hope the list helps, at least a little:
- You’re not given respect; you earn respect.
- Don’t tell someone to do something; ask them to help.
- Get your hands dirty (and your shirt, your hair, your new pants that you just bought, etc).
- Expect the best from them and that’s what they’ll give you.
- Remember that your desk is also a dining room table.
- You may do a thousand wonderful things, but they’ll remember the one thing that was bad.
- Meetings make you stupid(er).
- You are not their friend; you are their boss.
There’s a lot more bullets that accompany the counselor hat (like what to do when they are sitting in your office, crying, and miserable with work and/or home life), but some of that knowledge you have to learn the hard way. Of course, any good leader that I’ve had always gave me a long rope, but I always knew it wasn’t so I’d hang myself. It was so I could find my way back if I couldn’t handle things on my own. Consider the rope there, and whether you use if for security or suicide is up to you.
Good luck, guys (and gals).