Prolific Leadership: How the Power of One Makes a Career Impact
I Wanted to Quit before a Leader Showed Up
We've all been there. The time after work when you get a few moments to breathe, and think about your day. What could I have done better? Why did I do that? How do I fix this? Oh God I don't want to go back, help!
I was there. I started out a customer service representative (CSR), doing collection calls and taking payments from customers in person. Started out okay, some days were crazier than others. But it all had one thing in common: Our customer service sucked, the manager was absent half the time or farting around on his computer, and his croanie assistant had a hot temper and liked to throw tantrums.
A month earlier I had just walked away from a potential career as a Cosmetologist with a state masters license. Honestly, I was tired of making pennies and straight commission. I needed something more. I needed steady pay with insurance and benefits, paid time off. You get the picture.
I found all of those things, with bad management to boot. I listened to the customers comments about the company I worked for over the phone, and experienced not so stellar service from the other representatives there toward the customers. I started feeling ashamed of the company and despised the management.
I saw them as incompetent and started searching for other employment. You have to realize that if you work for a company treating customers like crap, eventually, customers will associate you with those ethics regardless if you are customer-centric or not. Sorry, but that's how it goes.
I went home one evening and sat on the porch and contemplated my job choices at that time. You see, if you aren't happy with your job, you call it that: It's just a job. But, if you are passionate about doing something for the company you work for and believe in it, you call it: This is my career.
That next week the manager was fired. In less than three months, with the new leader we turned that store around the increased our customer scores to the highest in the region. Delinquency fell because of the training and tactics he taught us to use in negotiating payments with customers. It worked. He became my mentor, making impacts in my life and those around me who was hungry for insight and leadership.
If I put all my journals together of every single job I have ever worked, the ups and downs, I would probably laugh at myself. What was I thinking? Like the career example above, some of them would make me cry because a part of who I became professionally was ingrained into me from those early years at that particular employment. Sure I made mistakes, but I had a leader who taught me that mistakes are just opportunities to do it better next time.
The jobs you remember frustrated the crap out of you leave a bad taste in your mouth, and bitter memories. But the ones that put an effort into you to help make you a better person, you never forget. There are professional lessons in all of them.
The ones I had in which a powerful leader left an impact on my life, still to this day, resonates with me.
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandi
In every good leader I experienced first hand, there were always three qualities that made impacts. Not just with me, but with customer service and complicated issues. A good leader should leave positive impacts not just on customers, but with their team too.
"Leaders become great not because of their power but, because of their ability to empower others." -John Maxwell
From my professional experience, these three qualities are what have left a forging impact in my career from leaders that genuinely cared about me, my family and my own professional development. Keep reading to see for yourself.
"Great leaders find ways to connect with their people and help them fulfill their potential."— Steven J. Stowell
3 Top Qualities of Leaders
1. Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another (Mirriam-Webster)
2. Listen: The act of listening, how the brain processes what you hear.
3. Lead: The initiative in an action, an example for others to follow.
We've all been there. We may be having coffee with a good friend, and we hear what they are saying. Only, we feel what they are feeling. Our eyes tear up. Our lips quiver. We reach out and pull them in our arms, and tell them everything will be okay.
Why? Because your friend just found out she has cancer. And you listen to her, because you genuinely care for her and don't want her to have to go through that. So you listen. You let her pour her heart out. You think to yourself: What would I do if this was me? What would my children do? Oh my God, how could I get through this? You put yourself in their shoes. That's empathy.
Then you act on it. You offer to help your friend. "How about I take you to the doctor? I can bring you dinner this week, what works for you?" And she goes over her schedule and her fears, and you remain silent. You wait for her to get done going over all her fears. That's listening.
But then you turn your words into action. Not only do you take your friend to the doctor and bring her family dinners. You start a fund raiser. You put her on your church's prayer chain. You take initiative to not only be there for her, but you show genuine interest in her life and the impact this is having on her. You lead by example.
It starts with having empathy. Then because you really care for that person, you listen. People who care about you, your development and your future will listen to what you have to say. They may not agree with you, but listening is a vital component in leadership. A good leader will then take action on your behalf to better your career, give you choices or insight and encourage your development.
The three main virtues of great leadership is: Empathy, listening, and leading by example.
"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude, be kind, but not weak, be bold, but not bully, be thoughtful but not lazy, be humble but not timid, be proud but not arrogant, have humor but without folly."— Jim Rohn
"I think what makes a job great is if you believe in what you are doing to help others, and if you are helping yourself to grow professionally while at it. You look at the whole picture, not just what is in front of you."- Author April Savage
aprilsavage.wordpress.com— April Savage
Leadership Skills Must Start Somewhere
It's been nearly twenty-five years, and that one leader still leaves an impression on me professionally, and emotionally.
A good leader will do that. You will not forget them. You will learn their styles and techniques, relish in their accomplishments and develop your own style based on those same qualities (if you are a true leader).
"Poor leaders demand respect, competent leaders command respect." -Silvia Pencak
© 2018 April Savage