What you think about me is none of my business.
What I think of me is ALL my business.
How I think about both is good for our business.
Last week I met with a CFO for her sixth executive coaching session. Each time we meet, we discuss a variation of the same topic: her role as a practiced fretter and worrier. She worries about what everyone says about the organization, about her boss, and about her colleagues. She worries about what everyone is feeling and about how the employees and her peers perceive her. She worries that she worries so much!
Two weeks earlier, in a meeting with another CFO at a different organization, I noticed a different personality trait that pervades his entire workplace; he is so brash that he alienates everyone. No one includes him in their project meetings because he is so harsh, even though having an ally close to the budget would be helpful. Rather than take on anyone’s issues and help solve them, he actually creates more, and as a result, everyone avoids him.
And yes, I do know one baby bear CFO, Lenora, who is “just right.” Lenora might not be perfect, but she is highly competent and her co-workers seek out her opinion and advice. Best of all, Lenora goes home from work, most days, without being a bundle of worries.
The emotional health and balance of the senior executive team creates the workplace culture. What is your organization doing to promote a healthy leadership team?
Monday morning I got a text from my son Jeffrey, who is working at The Newton School as a PE teacher. He was pleased to have received a note from the family of one of the students, letting Jeffrey know that his work makes a difference for their son.
When I think about the teachers who have impacted my life, I remember Mrs. Bersch who loved reading us stories; Mrs. Quesenberry who made each one of us feel loved; and Mrs. Brown whose spunk made science fun. I think about Mrs. Self, my eighth grade English teacher, who sometimes reads this blog, who told me in recent years not to worry about the grammar, but to just keep writing. And Mrs. Millborn, who was young and inspiring and could relate to every teenager in the school. I loved Mrs. Tillman who taught Geometry along with goal setting, and Mrs. Porterfield who made my day by always starting class with a smile and a philosophical question.
Those are just a few of MY teachers who made an impact on me, but once I had children in school, I cared even more about teachers. Next year I will write about Mr. March, Mrs. Deutsch, Mrs. Ellison, and dear, dear Mrs. Shirley. Some days you showed more love to my children than I could.
Have you thanked a teacher this week? With the internet, you can likely find a teacher you cared about and let that special someone know. It’s never too late to say, “You made a difference for me!”
Part of being a good mentor in the workplace is reaching out to the people who made an impact on you in your life and letting them know.
No, I’m not 45. I am older. That’s what the woman in the meeting said out loud to her colleagues.
There are a myriad of ways this is expressed:
“This is the way I have always been, I’m not going to change now.”
“My mother/father was this way, what do you expect?”
“I’m an old dog, I can’t learn new tricks!”
“I’m Italian/German/Jewish/Catholic/Southern…this is just the way we are.”
“I’m a millennial/Gen-Xer, this is how we do things.”
“I’m just a dumb jock, what do you expect?”
When I was in college, my mentor said to me, “At what point will you accept responsibility for your own actions rather than blaming them on your background/parents/education?”
What a powerful question. Have you stopped?