A Letter to the Leader
I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about our time together - the good and the bad - and today I felt like writing you a letter.
No, not a letter of resignation. Rather, a letter of thanks. For all you’ve done for me, I want to say “way to go!”
You probably don’t hear it all that often, but you’ve made a huge impact on me. Both as a person and as a professional.
It all started on the very first day I came to work.
How? Simple. You made me feel welcome.
When I showed up, my work space was prepared and my supplies were laid out, ready for me to use. There was even a little note card from you that said, “welcome.”
And my favorite thing of all? You left a fancy mug with the company’s logo on my desk. So cool.
I know what you’re probably thinking – that’s silly, that’s basic stuff. But, you’d be surprised.
I had a boss at another company who didn’t say hello to me on my first day. She went as far as to pass me in the hallway without even a glance. I remember it well:
As I saw her approach from the other end of a long hallway, I straightened my back, cracked my best smile and readied my hand for a firm handshake, to be followed by a pleasant “good morning.” But, nothing. She passed me and kept going.
I never forgot that.
So, please know what a huge impact you had on me that day you were ready for my arrival. I know you are incredibly busy, and it made me feel special and loyal to this company from the very start.
I could stop there, but that’s not all I want to give thanks for today.
There was another time when you pulled me into your office to tell me I wasn’t meeting your expectations. Do you remember that?
I remember, because you did it with such finesse and grace. I could have left that meeting feeling like a lesser person, but you made the exact opposite happen!
Instead, while I did leave your office feeling sad about how I had disappointed you, more importantly, I felt optimistic that I knew how to do better and could improve.
One thing you said to me really stood out:
"If you want to get to the next level, perform like you’re already there."
A short time after that meeting, you caught me doing the very thing that you asked me to do, and you stopped me in the hall to tell me that I had nailed it.
“That was perfect. Do more of that!”
So, I did.
Those were the early days of our time together, when I was green and needed your close guidance. But, somewhere along the way, things changed. For the better.
Like, just last year when you called a meeting with me to talk about your strategic five-year goals. I remember thinking, “This is very interesting, but why is she telling me all this?”
But, by the time you were done, it was all clear.
To my surprise, you were asking me to take the lead on one of your new initiatives. Yes, I was excited, but there was only one BIG problem. I had absolutely no idea how to do the thing you were asking of me. But, that didn’t seem to bother you. Not one bit.
To me, you said:
“No worries. I trust that you can do this. And, I’ll help.”
So we did it. And it was great.
I feel like I'm gushing, but I can't end this letter without also acknowledging how well you’ve supported me personally, during some of the hardest times. Like, when I had a sick family member in the hospital. You didn’t make me feel bad for something I couldn’t control or guilty for not being at work.
Instead, you said:
"Go, take care of your family. We’ll handle things until you get back.”
I’ll never forget how that made me feel and how much you helped me and my family.
I hope you see that, from my perspective, things have been going well with us. You're a great leader, and I never want that to change.
You asked me once to never hold back on giving YOU feedback. So, while I have your attention, I’ll just take this opportunity to share how I want you to continue to lead me.
Here are a few tips on the best ways to lead me:
- Continue trusting and pushing me, and giving me space to do my best work.
- Start spending more time with me. Your attention is invaluable for my development.
- Stop taking on too much work yourself. Use me. I'm up for the challenge!
In closing, one more time, I want to sincerely say thank you for all that you’ve done and will do for me. It is because of you that I continue to work for this company and enjoy what I get to do every day.
I look forward to what’s to come, whatever that may be.