I was in the process of moving to a new job role, which was also a promotion, at a different business location within my current company. Other than the fact that it was a promotion, this new role was going to challenge me and stretch me in new ways while affording consistency in my daily work schedule. I was only a couple of weeks away from marrying the love of my life so a better work schedule was key!!
After officially notifying my current leadership team that I intended to move to the new location within three weeks (they were already aware of my intention to move on before that point), the head boss pulled me into an office to discuss my future. In that conversation they spoke of a few ‘potential’ opportunities at that same location that may open up at some point in the future. The opportunities would afford additional growth and development for my career. I said I’d be interested in discussing the jobs further and that was the end of the conversation. I never heard another peep concerning those jobs.
As my final days were wrapping up and I was excitedly awaiting the next leg of my professional journey, the same head boss pulled me into an office again with a slightly different tone. They opened the conversation by stating “we came to an agreement, you are supposed to stay.” I replied that since the last conversation I’d heard nothing further regarding the potential positions that were presented to me, nor had I agreed to anything because quite frankly there was nothing to agree to. As they fumbled for a response their frustration grew and they stormed out of the office slamming the door behind them. Slamming may be quite the understatement as several people from surrounding work spaces stopped by the office in the following minutes checking to ensure everything was okay.
I’ll never forget the moment the ringing noise in my ears subsided from the slammed office door. I felt completely alone and confused. It was the first time in a work setting I faced the reality that so called leaders in my life didn’t have my best interest in mind and were operating from a place of self-service.
In that moment I resolved that I never wanted to contribute to anyone else experiencing what I was experiencing. It was horrible.
Reflecting back over my career to this point I believe I’ve done a pretty decent job of supporting other leaders I serve during their moments of transition. The reality is people come and go for a myriad of reasons. I believe that the job of a leader is to support growth in the individuals they serve for whatever length of time they are connected, and to leave them feeling supported when they part ways.
My leader in this story took it upon themself to assume they knew what was best for me, more than likely based on a perceived personal return. Leaders need to be very cautious when dealing with other peoples lives and futures. We are ultimately responsible for the direction of one life, and that is our own. We are not supposed to know or have ownership over the path and journey that others travel.
The focus should be on serving others for whatever period of time we’re connected to them and doing everything possible to help them achieve their full potential.