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Leadership: Easy as the Stroke of a Pen – Caring Leadership Story

Stroke of a pen. Caring Leadership Story

The Dale Carnegie group shares the following thoughts,

“There is no such thing as a standard definition of employee engagement. But mostly everyone agrees that employee engagement involves a workplace in which workers:

• Feel personally and emotionally bound to the organization

• Feel pride in recommending it as a good place to work to other people

• Get more than just wage or salary from working there and are attached to the intrinsic rewards they gain from being with the organization, and

• Feel a close attachment”

These past few days, as I have watched the Olympics in England it reminded me of a critical point in my career where my employee engagement was wavering.

I had just assumed a new position as Senior Manager for a Service Desk (“Help Desk”) for a major outsourcing firm. Between the existing workload and the new work that was flooding in, I felt like I was “meeting myself coming and going”. On top of that, my phone rang, and a Senior Executive asked me to go to Sydney, Australia for 3 weeks!

Now at first thought, who would even think of turning that assignment down. But with the heavy workload demand, in the midst of considering the purchase of a new home, and dealing with several personal situations on the home front; my heart was heavy and bewildered.

I thought, “What do I do?” On top of it all, I learned that my trip was not to go to Sydney to enjoy the 2000 Summer Olympics that happened to be in town at that time. Rather, I was to evaluate the existing operations of a team and decide what changes were needed to bring about drastic improvement. You might have guessed it…this meant most likely identifying individuals to “fire”! Ouch!

Nonetheless, I accepted the assignment, made the journey and completed my job per the satisfaction of my management team. But that’s not the point of this whole story. It’s what happened a few days upon returning home that I still marvel at as I think about it 12 years later.

A hand written letter came to our home address from a Management Executive (let’s call him “Jeff”). The letter was addressed to my wife. The letter shared many things, but the main point was his personal appreciation for Erika to allow me to go on the last-minute trip. He also expressed his appreciation for her continued support of me in the midst of the new transition. He knew that with her support the future was bright for me, my family, and the company I was working for.

In a day in age where email and cell phones are so prevalent, for someone to take the time to actually write a letter, not type it, and send it to my wife, all I can say is “Wow!.

It’s been over 12 years now and we still both relish this kind gesture. In fact, I called Jeff a while back to thank him for his kindness and to remind him of the impact it had on us.

I should have known it. He shared that he had just written a letter to one of his current employees. And just like before, this employee and his wife shared the same reaction as Erika and I experienced.

It goes to show, that taking the time and effort to express from the heart to the spouse of one of your fellow workers yields “employee engagement!” It really is as easy as the “Stroke of a Pen”!

Do you have a story to share? We would love to hear it! What nice things have bosses done for you to show they care? Please comment below.

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