That graphic right there perfectly encapsulates everything going on at work right now.
I love my boss. I could talk about how amazing she is all the live long day – you’d get sick of me, really – but the fact of the matter is, she is quite simply the best boss I have ever had in my entire 25 years of working life thus far. She stands head and shoulders above anyone else. And the question you should be asking is, “What makes her so great?”
Well, let me share with you what makes her a great leader:
1) She never let me settle. I came in as a low-level secretary, and after only three months she realized what I could do and she USED me. Rather than settling for my low-level secretarial job description, she took advantage of my knowledge and work ethic. The result? After one year I received a promotion in title, a raise, and a lot of small $$ bonuses along the way. Another year went by, and my role continued to grow. And after one more year she gave me another promotion and raise, as well as the small $$ bonuses along the way.
2) She encouraged me to grow with her. At that point I could have rested on my laurels – I was getting noticed by leadership as the work I did became progressive more than just that of my department. As her own role changed, so did mine. We were a team on everything. Over the past four years, my daily work has moved away from secretarial work with fun projects thrown in to keep my interest, to division-level data analysis, participation on several committees, an active voice on large-scale projects, and work with a team focused on customer relations and engagement. My work was fulfilling.
3) She was a mentor. My reviews every year were always good. Glowing, in fact. But even as my scores increased every year, she would encourage me to always go the extra mile. She pointed out that my communication could be better, it was the only thing holding me back. I worked the next year to really focus on becoming a better communicator and not letting people frustrate me so quickly. She rewarded me on my next performance review, giving me a higher rating and saying she had noticed and appreciated how hard I worked on that issue.
4) She was fun. We clicked from day one and never had a cross word to say to each other. Each and every day working for her was an absolute pleasure in every sense. We shared not just our work lives, but our personal lives with each other. We could tease each other and laugh with each other freely.
5) She had my back 100%. When we were having bad days – and there were bad days – we had each other to lean on to get encouragement and work past it. When I was frustrated I felt 100% at ease telling her about it, knowing she had my back and would either advocate for me if a leader was doing something I didn’t like, or problem-solve to figure out a way to alleviate the frustration. When I would wonder aloud if I could be removed from a project, she went to work to get me replaced and gave me something else to do. She volunteered me for projects well outside my scope knowing that the exposure I’d gain with executive leadership as a result could only benefit me long-term.
But as of yesterday, she is no longer my boss. She took a better position in another part of the company and I no longer report to her. I’m devastated because I know I’ll never have a boss like her again in my lifetime. Lightning rarely strikes twice. But I’m so proud of her because I know she is going to kill it at her new job. She’s going to take them by storm and they are going to love her for it.
As one of her last acts as my boss, she put in for, and got approval for, a promotion for me. It went “live” yesterday. I’ve gone from being an Administrative Assistant to a Project Manager. Hourly to Salaried. Support staff to Management. My day-to-day job won’t change much – if you were to look at my new job description, it very much sounds like what I’ve been doing for the past two years. But now the title matches the work. The salary is a bit closer to what I’m worth (I’ve still got a ways to go there to be up where I was when I got laid off in early 2009, but it will come in time). I’m now reporting to my old boss’s boss, a woman who I know well and already do a good bit of work with.
But even as I miss my old boss, I intend to keep in touch with her, and keep her as a mentor and guide. She’ll actually be on my campus quite a bit with her first big project, so I’ll probably see her more NOW than I have over the past year (we’ve been sitting on different floors for over a year now). So I look forward to framing a new relationship with her – peer, confidante, and more importantly, FRIEND.