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Grow the people

I’ve been thinking a lot about something — something that’s had me troubled since I took the  new job 6 months ago.  Sure, I knew how the department worked, I’d been a key part of it for years. I had a list of what needed tweaking and where changes could be made.

But an area I was least familiar with turned out to be the most important of all.

You see, because the other employees were my colleagues all those years, I really didn’t know what it was like for them.   Now that I was their boss, it was my job to find out. 

Located all around the state, none of us share an office and we rarely see each other. And even though my management style and the previous boss’s are vastly different, I didn’t want to make changes too quickly.

So I started out slowly.  Visiting the team, spending time with them on their turf. Listening.  Bringing forward their ideas, offering encouragement. Bridging the gap between trusted colleague and trusted adviser.

I found myself thinking most about an employee who should have been promoted long ago.

He was doing Manager level work, and had been for years. He wasn’t being paid Manager-level wages.  Oh no, that had never happened, despite the promises made by another.

He didn’t have the right title, although he had all the responsibilities that go with it. Not having the right title meant he often was left off emails sent by other departments.   Not having that information left him at a deficit and unable to perform to the best of his ability.

This wasn’t right.

How to fix it?

I talked with H.R. and my supervisor and slowly but surely,  made it clear that his move up was priority #1.  I kept that move on the forefront of conversations; just enough to have it remembered, not enough to be annoying.

Why?

Because here was someone working hard and not getting ahead for it.

Isn’t that why we go to work?

For the reward? The money? The status?

The more I dug into it, the madder I became.

At the years of indifference.

Years of neglect.

The years of hard work for another’s benefit.

No, not this time.

It was not for nothing.  It was going to be for something.

I am delighted to report he got the promotion he deserved and some more money, too.  He’s a proud man, and his quiet but dignified “Thank you, thank you so very much” was beyond meaningful to me.   We laughed about his email in-box “blowing up” with congratulatory notes, and I took great joy in hearing the joy in him.

Thinking about it further, I came to see that this is why I am in the job.

Not just because I understand the policies and can navigate the systems.  Not just because of my experience and good reputation.

No, that’s not it.

I am here to grow the people.

And in there is growth for me as well.

no point climbing the ladder just to sit there by yourself

no point climbing the ladder just to sit there by yourself

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
― Woodrow Wilson

 Have you ever been in a similar position?  Were you able to fix it?

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Categories: Faith, fear, Forgiveness, Growth, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Men, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Grow the people

  1. Good for you, MJ! I’m sure that gentleman will be forever indebted to you for speaking up on his behalf!

  2. Absolutely! Congratulations to him and good for you for leading so wisely.

    • It feels good to do the right thing. We’re not always empowered to do so but when we can, we should embrace it, I think,

      MJ

  3. The world needs more people like you, MJ. Every post you write makes me think that, but this one just reaffirmed it yet again. If more managers (and people in general) were like you – really listened and cared – the world would be a better place!

    • I’ve had my share of terrible managers — selfish, careless people who may have been good at one function but should never have been put in charge of developing others. I’ve learned so much from them!

      MJ

  4. I spent 20 years in human resource work trying to convince managers that it’s all about the people. You got it right off the bat! Your company is very lucky! People like managers who take action — the right action whether it’s firing a non-performer or promoting a high performer.

    • Thank you; I think the firing part would be much harder and am glad I don’t have to deal with that. I’ve brought on another employee who is a terrific resource; it’s been fun to see her “bloom where she’s planted.”
      Thanks for the kind words and the relevance from an HR perspective; I was fortunate also that the HR Director was more than willing to “right the ship,” so to speak. 🙂 MJ

  5. Great job! You will always be his hero. What a wonderful gift to give. By listening and caring you righted a wrong.

  6. Great job MJ!! Part of management is lifting others “UP” and letting them shine and accept the accolades of others. I’ll bet others notice who helped him and resolved the indifference. You did good. 🙂
    R

    • Absolutely – that’s our role — to bring them up and let them shine! Regardless if others noticed, HE knows and that’s what matters to me 🙂

      MJ

  7. I bet you’re an amazing person to work of. What a beautiful post, MJ.

    • Probably annoying as what; I ask a lot of questions and am probably the reason certain calls go longer than planned!!

      While it was frustrating to see this had gone on for so long, it was empowering to have the company support me when I said “it’s time to make this right.” And they did. 🙂

      MJ

  8. Willard McDonald

    What a lovely story Kiddo.! You the Gal.!! Love Uncle Mac & Aunt Janet…

    Sent from Mac’s IPAD

    • Thank you, Uncle Mac and Aunt Janet. Just living the lessons I was modeled by Mom & Dad — treat others the way you wish to be treated 🙂
      MJ

  9. MJ, it is wonderful to read that you are out there, doing good things like this. I had a coworker who I really respected, learned much from, and enjoyed working with. He left our company for reasons similar to the situation you describe here. But there was no one who cared enough to change it. The company lost a very valuable employee rather than put him in a position to do the great things he was so capable of.

    • I remember you writing about that co-worker and how sad you were that he ended up having to leave; sadly, that happens a lot, as you know.

      In this instance, the employee is someone who was not likely going to leave and I think that’s what made it worse — it feels to me like previous leadership knew that and took advantage, to a certain degree.

      Not O.K.

      I am happy to report he is thriving in his new role and couldn’t have been happier to have ordered new business cards 🙂 MJ

  10. You’ll be wildly successful if you continue to take others up the ladder with you. Bravo MJ.

    • We can only take someone as far as they want to go but, as someone in a leadership role, I feel it’s my job to show them what’s possible. Much of the success I’ve had had nothing to do with previous bosses; I did a lot of networking, volunteered for projects and got my name “out there.” Eventually it was noticed … and sometimes leaders don’t appreciate that effort as they should.

      I’ve had lots of lessons in “what not to do!”

      MJ

  11. Thanks, MJ. I’m glad you stepped up for this employee. I’m praying someone does the same for my husband. It’s nice to know there are people who take notice.

    • Thank you; I am glad had support from the company (HR etc) to do so. I think it would have been worse had I not been able to do that.

      My experience? People notice more than you think, many are afraid to “rock the boat,” some don’t care, and then there’s the rest of us who have to figure out what to do about it.

      MJ

  12. wonderful story MJ

  13. Pingback: Soul whispers | Emjayandthem's Blog

  14. Pingback: How a believer lost 250lbs in 1day | Emjayandthem's Blog

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