Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Let your staff know that you value them -- a story.

     I just recently resigned from a really GREAT job.  I didn’t want to, but I had to, due to life circumstances.   Nothing life or death, but there was no other option.  I was able to leave the company on very positive terms.   It was very sad for me to have to leave a job that I truly enjoyed.

     The very day that I sent out my group email resignation to my co-workers, within minutes, my email inbox was pinging with return emails.   Some people were shocked, some were saddened, some told me how I would be missed, some told me how they enjoyed working with me, how they enjoyed my sense of humor, how I had done such a great job, etc.    I was surprising by the number of emails. 

     It was like a movie script where the lead character, who everyone thought had died in a mysterious plane crash over the ocean but somehow survived,  was now able to attend his own funeral—without being noticed, sitting disguised in the back row of the chapel, listening to his friends and family eulogize him.   People said things in those emails that truly surprised me.  I was not aware of the impact that I had on some of my co-workers.   People made comments after I had resigned, that they never would have personally made to me while I was still at work.  Not to mention the hugs that I received over the following week.     I probably could have worked for years and never really known how my co-workers felt about me.  A simple resignation opened the doors for emotions to enter the workplace.   It’s similar to the regret we all have had at one time or another when you first hear of the death of a friend or relative.    “ I wish I would have told him/her how much I  …………. “

     It was a great reminder for me, as a manager, to “pretend as if your staff just resigned” and give them feedback, praise, emotional support, and help them to feel appreciated – in the moment.   Don’t wait until it is too late.   In my case, this ultimately would not have had any impact on my need to resign, but I wonder how my career might have felt, had I witnessed my own eulogy on a daily basis.

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