Archive for July, 2009

Teachable Movements

July 24, 2009

This is an interview I did with a gentleman about his best boss.  He shared why his best boss made an impact in his life.

My best boss ever was a mentor.   My entire life, my father preached the power of a mentor to me.  As a Realtor, he got his start and learned the ropes from his own mentor.  As such, he wanted to share the power of a mentor with me as well.    It wasn’t until I met my boss—Greg—that I realized how powerful a mentor can be.  He was an individual who was always there for me and always had the right answers to my never-ending questions.  But that’s not to say that Greg hand fed me everything in life.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.  What truly made Greg a great boss and mentor was his willingness to let me fail.    Remember back to your youth.  How many times were you told the plate was hot, the knife was sharp, or the ground slippery?  And how many of those times did you go ahead and touch the plate, feel the blade, or run?  Truly experiencing the heat sets in your mind a colorful vision that explanations will never do.   Greg gave me those opportunities to see things from in the trenches—not just the omniscient information that he could provide.  If he would have told me from the start that my idea wouldn’t work, I would never know why.  But because of him, I experienced life on my own and had him as a resource when I needed it.

His other great power as a mentor was to offer advice when asked.  From the very start of my father’s preaching on mentoring, I was concerned that I would have someone barking orders in my ear for my entire life.  However, Greg was a silent resource who would offer words of encouragement or advice—when asked.  The key there is the last two words, “when asked.”  Although he could have guided me through life on an expressway, he again allowed me to experience my own failures and live life.    Those two key differences, allowing me to fail, and being a silent resource are truly what made Greg my best boss ever.

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See the Potential, Not the Task

July 3, 2009

Think back to the best boss (or manager) you ever worked with or for, and you will think of someone that got the best out of you. In my book “My Best Boss Ever,” one of my favorite quotes is “My best boss was more interested in promoting me than promoting himself.”  That says it all.

The best bosses look at you and they see the potential, the bad bosses see an employee to get the task done. As the saying goes “leaders have vision.” But the best bosses have a vision of you.  They see the best potential you, and they work to help you become that best potential. Best bosses leave us better than they found us.

The next time you work with an employee, ask yourself, what is their potential.  And then ask yourself what can I do to pull that potential out of the them, or to better yet release that potential.