From Across My Desk

The other day I walked into my office, and for some reason I wasn’t motivated to sit at my desk and get right to work. Instead I sat across my desk in one of my two guest chairs.

I sat there with my journal and looked at what adorned my desk, my wall pictures, and my chair (which by the way is an awesome red leather chair that I’ve cherished for years. It’s my pride and joy but has nothing to do with this blog. Ha!).

As I sat there observing “my space” I wrote this on a page in my journal:

If I were sitting across the desk from me, what would I need?

Yes, for a moment I pretended I was working for me. Here are my notes as I mentally played the role of an employee.

  1. Courage to be selfless: Make decisions that are first good for the company and the employees and not for you first. When sacrifices need to be made, I want to be confident that my leader will be the first to sacrifice before making others carry the burden. After all, we followed you here.
  2. Confidence to moveTo know that every decision made was well thought out, but not procrastinated. To move quickly, but not reckless. To take action and not deliberate because inaction makes me frustrated and concerned.
  3. Trust me: Trust that I can do my job. Trust that if I screw up I’ll come to you and not hide it, and I want to trust that you’ll help me fix it instead of firing me. Please create a culture where none of us are fearful to tell you bad news.
  4. Believe in meYou know I want to grow and do great things. Help me get better. Help me by believing in me.
  5. Make it safe: I used to work in an environment where we hid mistakes. It wasn’t safe to speak up. It wasn’t safe to not know the answer. We talked about others when they weren’t in the room, and we tried to climb the career ladder by knocking others off. Make it safe here.
  6. Teach me: I want to be successful like you. How did you get here? What did you learn? Can you teach me, or do I just have to learn as I age?
  7. Be fair but firm: When some fail to exhibit our values on a consistent basis, please take care of it. Don’t make me have to work alongside someone who is selfish and uncaring about our team.
  8. Build the future: I’m depending on you to make sure we have a future that is stable, exciting, blessed and something that I can steward long after you leave.
  9. It’s okay if I get smart: You’ve taught me well. I’ve learned. Don’t worry about me outgrowing you because it’s you that keeps me inspired. I want to replicate what you’ve done for me.
  10. And in return: I promise to come visit you in the nursing home!

If you lead others, I’d like to challenge you to sit across from your desk observing “your space.” Then answer this question on a page in your journal: If I were sitting across the desk from me, what would I need from me?

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