"The great secret to people excellence is treat people with manifest respect and appreciation and trust, and give them a chance to express the best in themselves and dramatically broaden their horizons."I've always admired Tom and deeply shared his views on various and sundry things. He prefers the simple as opposed to the complex, action over theory, and plain-talk over typical business vernacular. He is direct. He says what he has to say - like it or not; he doesn't tap-dance. What I resonant with most, though, and have tried my best to emulate, is his willingness to wander far and wide to find ideas from other disciplines and show how they can be applied in a business context.
In this spirit, I want to share a poem I found recently on a blog I visit on a regular basis. The blog is written by Angela Meiers, a former teacher who spends her time these days working as an independent consultant dedicated and committed to helping the Department of Education's schools, districts and teachers reach their goals in literacy and literacy education. The poem was written by Angela and is titled Promises. And, if you simply substitute the word boss for teacher, I think you'll find it to be a meaningful way to understand the kind of relationship most of us would like to have with the person to whom we report:
Make me feel special,
Make me feel included,
Make me feel valued,
Smile for me,
Tell me that you’re happy to see me,
Tell me that you’re happy to teach me,
Tell me that you’re happy I am here.
Tell me about our work together
Tell me how I can be of help and mean it genuinely
See all of me,
See my emotions, my laughter, my curiosity, my anticipation
See my right, and I will work on the “wrongs”
PLEEZE don’t just tell me what you know
Show me what I need to know,
Show me how to do it well
Help me when it gets hard,
Help me persevere,
Help me know it matters
I came to you in love with learning
Keep me excited!
Show me the fun
Show me your fire and passion
Promise me that you can.
Promise me that you will.
Promise me that you are ready to…
Love me, help me, engage me, excite me, and teach me
I want to learn.
I want to know.
I want to be your student.
I will return the favor
I will reward you with my attention, my focus, my heart
I will show you what I can do
I will show you who I can be
- Can you tell a story of a teacher, coach or someone else outside your immediate family who treated you in the way expressed in the poem? What is the lasting impact your relationship with that person has had on your life?
- Can you see the poem as a summary of what you might be looking for in a supervisor? Have you ever worked for someone that treated you in this way? What stories can you tell about the effect that supervisor had on your life's journey?
- What other words besides boss can you substitute for teacher? Explain.
- Can you move way out to the edge and see the poem as a request a customer might make of a supplier? In other words, can you see a business-to-business application?
"The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The more we live by our intellect, the less we understand the meaning of life." - Leo Tolstoy
"One brief way of describing the change which has taken place, in me, is to say that in my early professional years I was asking the question: 'How can I treat, or cure, or change this person?' Now I would phrase the question in this way: 'How can I provide a relationship, which this person may use for his own personal growth?'" - Carl Rogers, psychologist
"If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever." - Saint Paul, Letter to the Corinthians