Many years ago, when I was early in my career, I was sitting in a training session with our company employees as well as the leadership executives. The speaker was talking about to us about leadership and the importance of values. In one of the exercises, he asked everyone to circle the top 5 values out of 30 or 40 listed on the sheet of paper and rank them 1 to 5, with 1 being the most important. I don’t remember which ones were important to me at the time, but what I do remember is watching the speaker take a poll with everyone for each value.
The speaker asked the group to raise our hand for the most important value rated #1. I don’t remember which value I had listed as most important. but when the value of integrity came up, I observed something that has stuck with me since that day. Not a few, but everyone on the senior executive leadership team, including the CEO, raised their hand when asked about “integrity” as being the most important value. Watching our leaders, I recognized the importance of the value of integrity as a leader, but wasn’t as clear on the importance of it until that day. Today, this is my most important value in both my professional and personal life. Watching others helped me understand the importance on values.
Since then, I realize people are watching me. My wife, my children, people in the community, in the workplace, and as a volunteer. We have a wonderful opportunity to teach others or mentor through the act of modeling. I have learned pretty much everything I know through watching others. Here are just a few that come to mind.
- Interviews. I love listening to and watching interviews. We learn so much from others and can apply lessons to help make us better. If we really listen, we can take something and apply it to our lives. One of the lessons I shared in my book, Find Your Lane was comment by Charlie Daniels when interviewed by Dan Rather on The Big Interview. When asked about what advise he would give for success, he said “Don’t ever look at the empty seats”. This helped me focus on everyone in my people zone and not worry about anything else.
- Writing. One of the most impactful things I have learned in my career is the power in writing letters. It is just as impactful on the sender end as it is on the receiving end. Receiving a personal letter can light up someone’s world and create what I like to call a “milemarker” in life. I was once watching a documentary about the late President George H. W. Bush and the impact he made on his family and friends. Many of his grandchildren talked about how much they treasured his personal notes. This is something I have tried to instill in my discipline to encourage others on their journey from graduating high school to being in a job transition. One of the traditions I recently started was to send my grandkids a postcard anytime I visit a different city hoping this might be something they do for their grandkids one day. Start a legacy!
- Mentoring. I have had some great mentors in both my professional and personal life. Mentors give us someone to lean into about challenges and obstacles in life. They can be people we know or even dont know like an athlete or speaker or an author from a book we have read. They help us see what good looks like so that we can model for others as we grow … and can help us see bad too (think about some of the outbursts we have seen on TV from famous athletes and celebrities ). In 2018 and 19, I got the opportunity to mentor students from TWU and UTD in the DallasHR mentorship program. They were both fantastic and we learned from each other. It wasn’t just learning from me, but I learned as I knew they were both watching me and how I responded to emails and talking to others in the community. It doesn’t matter if you are a mentor, or mentee, just be one.
These are just a few examples. I watch my family, friends, and people in the workplace everyday which reminds me that I am being watched too. When I am in the office, people are watching me to see my viewpoints on work issues and how I respond to challenges. I also watch my clients and how they handle challenges and know they are watching me too… As a volunteer, people are watching to see if we are consistent and committed our role and values in the organization. I learn from people on social media too! I have learned so much from people just posting topics and how they respond. Being vulnerable by asking questions is a great way to start to process of accelerating in your career!
You see, we are all being watched and have a wonderful opportunity to change people in a positive way just by our daily actions. Are we quick to respond, do we show consistency, do we do the right thing, and do we show a sense of caring? So… who are you watching? What discipline have you added by watching others? What questions are you asking others, or not asking to get better in your role?
…and more importantly, who is watching YOU? …someone is!
Quote of the week:“In matters of style, swim with the currents. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.” -Thomas Jefferson
Call to Action: Take out a piece of paper and write down 5-10 names of people that inspire you. What are their traits or something they do and make a note? Try to incorporate one of these traits in your life. You will start feeling more confident and more importantly — more joy. Send them a note. Start the process of modeling for others and being the change, you want to see. It will change your leadership approach and move you into the lane of fulfillment!
This has been A Relocation Minute on “Someone is watching you ” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call