It was October 9 – the day finally came.
I have spent the last 2 days finishing my farewell message aka “last will and testament” to my team and to significant people I have spent the last 2 years in my company. Good thing, it was not about the executive tables and chairs that I will be leaving behind – because I have none! It was all about my last “pep-talk” that will pump them up for the time that I won’t be with them already. And yes, you can check it our here.
At around 2pm all supervisors were called for a brief meeting. (Awwww…how nice that they would be “honoring” my departure!) But I was wrong! It was a dead serious meeting with all results, performance indicators, follow-ups, and upcoming event preparations. And so my head was down all the time, scribbling notes..nagpa-as if.
Suddenly, “Today is the last day of Sir Hanz!”
“Sir Hanz, please come here in front.”
“My gulaaay… ” Does it have to be like this?
And one by one, my team of supervisors stood up and was “forced” to share to the group their last message for me. Mostly it was of thanks and being grateful for everything they learned from me. Then someone began to sob. Char!
Lastly, it was my turn to say my message. It was simple:
“Always, ihubog jud imong tao sa pagdayeg. Drown your people with appreciation. Everyday. Thank them for everything they have dooo…oo..ne.” That was the time my throat began to cut hard, and I’m starting to feel heavy in my chest. I don’t know why. Char!
I wanted to explain it to them, but I can’t. My mouth won’t open.
Then I told them…
“And kuan pod...Always stand for your people. Barogi jud imong tao. Whether they are wrong or right, barugi jud sila. Coz if you stand up for them, they will stand up for you….no matter what.”
Why did I say all those?
Two nights before that, I sat with two of my personnel during closing time.
“Sir, confirmed na jud diay. Dili na jud mapugngan?
“Nope, dili na jud.“
“Kahibaw ka sir, murespeto man jud mi nimo sir. Lahi man gud ka. Imo man gud ming barugan sir. Mapalpak mi sa customer, imo jung atubangon ngadto, ikaw ang musulbad. Dili daghan yaw-yaw. Dili daghan kasaba. Mao na kung miski na unsa sir, barugan pod ka namo sir.” (You know what sir, we always respect you sir. You’re just different. You always stood up for us. We mess up with the customers, it’s you who settles it. No complaining. No scolding. This is why, no matter what, we always stand up for you.)
And for me, those were the sweetest words an employee can say to his boss.
And to be honest, about them messing up, I don’t worry about my people taking my kindness as an advantage and them having big heads. Why? Because every time I stood for their mistake and tell them why, how and what to do, never did they mess up again.
This is just one of the 10 things I learned from my leadership crash course. (Here are the rest.)
And so the day, went on. It did, and it didn’t stop. That was it.
I went home with a thank you card, 2 gift boxes, a full tummy – imagine they surprised me with an “eat-all-you-can trip” with the whole department – funny pictures, great memories, and a trunk load of lessons.
I was happy. I was excited. I was a bit sad.
“What mark did I leave them?”
“What will they remember of me?”
For the past year, being their supervisor I always ask myself those two questions. I think all of my days there was about answering those two. The whole journey of being a leader is about what’s that something you mark on your people which they will bring out for the rest of their lives. And I am just glad that at the last day, I can say, though not to all, I did leave a mark to them…a significant mark.