I feel like I’m a pretty good manager, but nothing prepared me for the experience of leaving my employer of 10 years. I think we naturally want to minimize the impact we have on our team and others that we interact within the workplace. I was surprised at the reactions I got.
When I told my direct reports, the room was silent. You could have heard a pin drop. I think I saw some jaws drop as well. One person excused themselves to get a coffee, although later I found out that this was just an excuse to get out of the room and maintain composure. Another obsessed about small controllable details, “We are going to lose the room if we don’t take over the meeting invite”.
Afterwards, the more open they became, the more guilty I felt. Hearing things like, “you are the reason I’m on this team”, or “I don’t think anyone could lead the team the way you have”, or “Anna, I don’t need the money…I’m here for your leadership.” Then tears.
well shit. Don’t I feel horrible!
In a later meeting, I told some others that report up through my span of control. My announcement was met with an audible gasp.
It felt strange to get a compliment for being “a great boss” from the grumpy guy in the corner who never gives anybody any compliments.
All this makes me realize that at some level, I made a difference to the day-to-day lives of these people. I tried my best, and they noticed. They brought up concerns, and I took action. I set direction, and they followed. I now realize how fortunate I’ve been to work in the trenches with these amazing folks.
And now, I know the best thing for me is to move onto a new adventure, where I hope I can make as much of an impact.