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My (First) Best Boss (109/365)

As I'm building a daily writing habit, it amazes me how often ideas surface. Some are just beneath the surface. Others, on a more deep level that pop into my mind after some time.

This morning, I couldn't help but reminisce about influential bosses. In particular, I found myself vividly remembering my first best boss.

I was 19 years old. I was working as a gas station attendant. While I hadn't realized it yet, I was on the verge of discovering what I was simultaneously good at and passionate about.

It wasn't pumping gas. it was becoming an educator.

My first best boss was the station manager. She stood five feet in height. She had long, wild, and curly blonde hair. She was a chain smoking, raspy-voiced, vulgar talking, give-it-to-you-straight boss. And she wore our corporation uniform with pride. She was a force.

Looking back, I wondered:

What exactly was it that made her my first best boss?

  1. She was a straight talker. There was never any question what she expected, she articulated it simply, clearly, often and with honesty and passion for the work.

  2. She praised us when we deserved it. And she criticized us when we deserved it.

  3. At all times, she worked alongside us, in all circumstances. We were an old fashioned "pay at the pump" station, so in one eight hour shift, I'd usually have thousands of dollars running through my hands. She'd work by our side in the heat of summer, the brutal cold of winter, or the days when the wind was whipping or the rain pelted us.

As often as she reminded me to be proud of our company brand, and that my work ethic reflected that, we also have a responsibility to honor that with our customer service. Our every action and exchange with the public was a reflection, not only of us, but also our co-workers, and the corporation. Learning to value "the customer experience" while working at a gas station has remained with me through all of my jobs and my career since.

What I appreciated most is that she saw potential in me, and she let me know it.

Sure, she knew I would make a great shift leader and branch manager, and that I could progress steadily through the ranks of the organizational hierarchy. But she also knew I wanted to become a teacher. And she was proud of that, knowing, deep down, that she would have an impact on my future, beyond the age of 19 and the world of gas.

Bet she smile, knowing she was on my mind, today on my morning commute.

Click here to visit the Learning Leadership 365 site, where you may read all posts I've written.


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