You see he was just this decent person; smart, open-minded, very experienced in the field and really thankful that I had arrived to help him out.
The first few weeks went smoothly, I was learning the ropes. I met everyone and they seemed really nice and co-operative. I could immediately see where and how I could add value. My boss seemed really happy with me.
I had a ton of ideas. And everyone seemed enthusiastic to let me me loose – I could really make a difference here.
At the end of the first week, my boss and I were scheduled to have a meeting – a one on one to assess how things were going, set goals and so on. The night before, he was called away to an executive emergency meeting and apologized profusely.
So I was two weeks on the job before we got to meet formally.
It was a friday morning. We met in his office.
He asked me to speak first; how was I settling in? Did I have any questions? Were there any problems? To update him on where I was at and how I was progressing with the various projects I was hired to put in place. So far so good.
He listened intently. Then it was his turn.
He started by responding to everything I had said. He was supportive and enthusiastic – delighted that everything was going so well.
That’s when it happened. That’s when he said it.
He leaned back in his chair, took a deep breath and said…
“Okay, so let me tell you…..just in case I get knocked down by a bus….”
And that’s when he shared all of his projects, the internal politics, the really juicy stuff. That’s when he let me know that he was serious about our partnership. That I should know everything so that I could step in, fully informed and be able to function really well, with or without him.
I was shocked.
Firstly by the ‘knocked down by a bus’ statement. Which he repeated pretty much every time we met over the next 2 years we worked together. But mostly by his willingness to truly share and partner with me to get the job done. Rare. No agenda. No politics. Just trust and the true desire to do the very best job as a team.
I’ve never forgotten that moment – it’s informed every leadership decision I’ve made AND it’s shaped the leadership training I deliver.
You see leadership is not just for people in executive positions in companies. Leadership is for each and every one of us, every day in our lives. With our partners, our kids, our family and friends. Leadership is about the choices we make to create and achieve our goals.
Leadership is about making and living the very best life.
So, as we start a new year, I’m thankful to that wonderful leader who taught me so many lessons. And I’m thankful for the opportunity to practice them and pass them on to you.
What do you need to share today (and with whom?) in case you get knocked down by a bus? Who are you committed to truly partnering with?
Share your story here.