Years ago I was a supervisor in a corporate Training & Development department. It wasn’t my first supervisory role, but two things made it unique from my previous management experience: I was promoted from within the department and it was my first time supervising full-time knowledge workers. Because of this dynamic, it was an exciting, new phase of my career that vastly helped me grow personally and professionally.
About two years after my promotion, I was offered an opportunity with another company, which I accepted. My current team threw me a going away party, which included a cake decorated with all sorts of shoes.
The top of the cake was piped with the words:
“Jennifer, it will be hard to fill your shoes.”
I was immensely touched. And, a bit surprised as well. I had no idea my supervisory status warranted the baking of a cake. My team knew me well – in my worldview, cake is a high form of praise.
Here’s the take-away:
I believe if you show up with resolve to do the right thing by your team each and every day, those small acts won’t go unnoticed. People may not thank you often, but if you’re lucky, one day, they’ll let you know how much your actions mattered.
To me, that is the reward of leadership – the affirmation that you made a difference in peoples’ lives.