“The best leaders are readers of people. They have the intuitive ability to understand others by discerning how they feel and recognizing what they sense.” — John C. Maxwell
Do you remember your first day in your first real job? The nerves, the sleepless night before, the sweating palms and the fear of the unknown? You so want to make a good first impression. You’d studied hard and done well throughout the interview process so you had some confidence that your employer could see something in you. But when it’s time for the rubber to hit the road and you’re starting from scratch it’s a whole new ball game. And you’re as green as they come.
I can remember my first day like yesterday. What the weather was like, where I was and what I was wearing (that was super important). The most vivid memory was of my first boss. As I was introduced around the team, everyone seemed nice enough and welcoming, seemingly pleased to have me on board, until I got to him! Not quite sure what he was trying to achieve that day but he scared the bejeezus out of me and assured me if I made his coffee wrong, I’d be made to make it again. Political correctness was not present in those days! And that was my first impression of him and the leadership within that organization and it stuck for a long time.
Do you remember your first boss/leader/manager/partner? And how they made you feel?
Our talent starting today certainly wouldn’t be spoken to as I was back then, however, they still get the nerves, the anxiety and have the fear of the unknown. Having on boarded many new faces over the past few years nothing really changes in that regard. However, how you make them feel as the leader, as their manager, mentor, buddy will make the world of difference for them and the first impression they gain of the culture and the leadership of your organisation.
It’s not easy being the small fish in the big pond. The important thing is the quicker people can gain confidence and build relationships the better they can perform at their best. The new talent, these young, fresh faces starting as Graduates, Interns, trainees, apprentices are all impressionable and are our future leaders. How you treat them is key to how they grow and develop in their role and as a leader. Be empathetic; put yourself in their shoes and exercise patience and compassion while also challenging and stretching them. You can have a significant impact for better or for worse.
Be the leader our future leaders will look back on and were grateful to have as a positive role model, who shaped who they are as a leader from a young age and speak of fondly in 30 or so years to come. This is part of the legacy you leave.