Walking this Road Together - An Open Letter to Employers
Dear Business Leader,
First of all, allow me to say thank you for the position at your company. I know when you make the investment of time, energy, and money to hire and employ me, in a way, you are trusting me with a piece of your company. I take that quite seriously.
Serving Others First
There are a few things that will help me to thrive in and for your company. I know, first and foremost, my primary responsibility is to focus on serving others first. To assure the success of our clients, our company, and our team. In turn, I’d ask that you focus on serving me and work to assure my success.
What does this mean? Since I’m committed to the company achieving its goals, help me achieve my goals. One of the first things you may have to do is sit down with me and hear my story. Find out what makes me tick and some of the challenges that I’ve worked through. The cornerstone of any good relationship is mutual respect and admiration. I’m sure you’ll find that in my story.
Next, I would ask you to help me explore what’s possible. If I’m having a hard time visualizing my goals, I’d ask you to talk to me about what’s possible with your organization and beyond. I believe that there is purpose in all things and that me being a part of your team is not by chance or coincidence. I know everything we do together if done in the spirit of serving others, counts and these can represent building blocks in my/our development.
What Good Leaders Do
Once we’re committed to helping each other achieve our goals, I would ask that you believe in me before I believe in myself. I know that’s what good leaders do. What does this look like? It means that I would ask you to separate your belief in me from my behaviors. The power of your belief is the bridge I’ll use to cross over from who I am to who I’m capable of becoming. What happens when you tie your belief to my behavior? Well, for example, if I screw up and you stop believing in me then your belief becomes conditional. Now you are looking for evidence as to whether or not you can believe in me. The minute you stop believing in me is the minute you can no longer lead me. This means I can’t and shouldn’t work for you any longer. Please believe in me before I believe in myself. Separate your belief in me from my behaviors.
One of the ways we can communicate about this is regular one-on-ones with the person I directly report to. When they follow your lead I can be assured that during our one-on-one they will focus on me, my development and will be willing to tell me the “truth in love”. This is so important. This is the greatest emotional investment anyone can make in another human being. To believe in them before they believe in themselves, to love them, and tell them the truth. This is definitely a case of “both/and”. If you tell someone the truth without love, without believing in them, then it’s just mean and judgemental. This is what kills most businesses. When judgment or the fear of judgment exists, people protect themselves rather than focusing on helping others succeed first. When you only show love without the truth, it’s just a feeling and too subjective. What’s the proof? What’s the evidence that you really believe in someone? Neither way accomplishes the desired effect. The “truth in love” is exactly the right path. You believe in them and you give specific feedback from which they can take action.
"Inside Out" Work
I also appreciate the competitive pay and the benefits you provide. I also know that the amenities you surround us with are a nice touch. However, "Outside In" work will not change our circumstances for the better. Only "Inside Out" work does. That's the best thing. To know that I’m making a valuable contribution to the great organization we’re building together. It’s true! As an employee, I really want the 4 “Bigs”: Identity, Voice, Mastery, and Belonging! All of these work from the "Inside Out"!
Identity - Do I have a purpose or mission?
Voice - Do I have a way to express my gifts and talents in serving others?
Belonging - Do I have people in the organization that care about me?
Mastery - Do I have the opportunity to advance and show progress?
To know that I’m filling a greater purpose, can express my gifts and talents in fulfilling that purpose, that the people around me have my back and that I can grow in my profession. Now that’s a career! In this environment I know I can tap the fullness of my potential.
So, I’d like to share a bit of vision. I see myself at the end of a long day. As a team, we’ve just completed a great project. There were “high-fives” and “congratulations” all around. I’m tired. It’s a good “tired”, however, knowing that it was another day of good, hard work helping others succeed. I gave it my all in turning a difficult challenge into a great opportunity for our clients, our company, and our team. As a result, we all enjoy the peace and satisfaction of a job well done. All of us have tasted, once again, what it means to be successful.
Overcoming the Past
Sometimes in the past, I’ve only looked for a job with pay and benefits. I went anywhere I was accepted. In hindsight, I really missed the mark. It was never about finding “just a job”. It was about finding where I belonged and knowing that we were supposed to work together to achieve a greater mission.
I’m glad to have found where I belong and I’m glad you decided I was exactly the right person to join your team. I look forward to what we will accomplish together!
With great anticipation and much respect,