I’ve had a blogpost topic on my mind for quite awhile but today, it’s being hijacked. Instead, today on “Thank a Mentor Day,” I’m giving my sincere appreciation to two women who have been my bosses and my mentors.
There was an amazing article in this week’s Houston Business Journal about good bosses that sounded so much like both of these women. Unfortunately, it’s a premium article, which means if you aren’t an HBJ subscriber, a link will only cover a bit of the story. So I’ve typed up the article and quoted it extensively below.
I’m pretty passionate about this topic. I’ve had some great bosses who were also mentors to me and made my worklife a wonderful life. One, Renee Catacalos, now lives in Washington, D.C. She worked beside me at the Houston Association of REALTORS several years ago. But then she was promoted … upon which time she became an awesome mentor and an excellent boss. The other former boss is still a great friend, Ginny Abiassi. She was my boss for nearly eight years at Stewart Title and was absolutely amazing.
Here is some of what the bestselling author, Harvey Mackay, had to say in that HBJ article:
The late great basketball coach John Wooden shared his coaching philosophy, which works jus as well in business when it comes to mentoring employees: “A coach’s primary function should not be to make better players but to make better people. Lift others even with your critical analysis. This is still the best method to get the best out of someone because pride is a better motivator than fear. I never wanted to teach through fear, punishment or intimidation.”
Bosses have tremendous power over those they supervise. Whether the owner of the company or a middle manager, employees understand the person they report to can be their biggest cheerleader or their worst nightmare. I prefer to think the people I have hired put me in the first category. Having made a significant investment of time in hiring them in the first place, I must have recognized the sort of talent, personality and energy that would improve our company.
I want the folks I hire to love their jobs enough to come back raring to go after a lousy day, because everybody has a lousy day once in a while. I want them to look to me for inspiration. I want them to respect my work ethic. I want them to want to get better at what they do. I want them to know that I will help them get better. I want them to learn from my example, even when I am not directly mentoring them. Of course, none of that happens unless I know how to come back revved up after a miserable day, demonstrate a stellar work ethic and keep improving myself. What goes around comes around.
Study after study has concluded that the most important factor in job satisfaction is a positive work environment. Praise is vital, and salary is important, but nothing ranks as high as loving what you do. Location matters, but people are willing to go great distances for a job that makes them happy. Titles aren’t even near the top of the list.
The determining factor is often closely related to the boss. A truly great boss will engender loyalty before any of those other factors will. A committed boss works hardest at positive leadership and a professional environment. A perceptive boss remembers her own early challenges and draws on those experiences. A responsible boss understands that mentoring his staff and helping them develop skills reflects positively on him.
I’ve had one horrible, nightmare boss, and others who were very good. I intend to have many more years of workplace interaction as an independent contractor and maybe even again as an employee. However, I could not pass by “Thank a Mentor Day” without saying “thank you” to these two women. I have been so fortunate that my work life intersected with theirs.