As we draw close to Christmas, I thought I'd share this article from my archives as it reminds me of a special person. It also causes me to focus on how important each person we come in contact with is...
I received an email from Jackie, a former client, the day after Christmas. Her e-mail informed me a gentleman, who had attended one of the training programs I presented to her organization, over two years ago, had died of lung cancer. She wanted to tell me about Al's passing, because my program had made an impact on him. Jackie also knew my memories of him would make me smile; they did.
I only worked with Al and about 40 of his co-workers for two days, but I remember him clearly. He was a portly man, with a great smile, and a wonderful attitude about life. When he participated in my training program, he was one year away from retirement. However, unlike many other employees at that stage of employment, he still participated willingly in the training program. He wanted to learn whatever he could to become a better person, a better employee, and a better support to his customers. Al was THE person in this particular training group who was the target of many jokes - and he loved every moment of it. Of course, because he was kind and supportive of what I was sharing with his group, there were good-natured cat-calls thrown his way including “Teacher's Pet”. With each one, he'd just smile and laugh along. Whenever he could make someone else smile or laugh – a colleague or customer – to Al, that was an opportunity not to be missed.
I thought I'd share Al's story with you in the hopes that you take a moment to ask yourself, "How will my colleagues, employees, customers, vendors, and others remember me when I no longer work here? Will they remember me and smile? Will they consider the time they knew me to be of value to them? Will they remember something I taught them? Will they be inspired to do something I used to do? Will they help someone else because they remember how I helped them? OR, will they remember me, shake their heads, and forget me?"
As leaders, if we run through these self-reflection questions, we may be become even better leaders. If my employees remember me and smile, they must have liked me as a person because they could tell I liked THEM as people too. If they consider the time they worked with me as VALUABLE, I must have helped them to achieve something good or to improve in some way. If they remember something I TAUGHT them, I must have helped them grow as professionals and people. If they aspire to emulate me, I must have been a solid ROLE MODEL for them. If they help someone else because I HELPED them, I must have ‘been there for them’ when they needed me. However, if they simply shake their heads and easily forget me, I didn't fulfill the true responsibilities of my job: I failed to lead people, I only managed resources.
Thanks Al. You can still make me smile.
What's your legacy?
Copyright MMIII Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.