One of the best aspects of being a writer is never really knowing the moment when inspiration will occur. For some reason the shower is a place of frequent revelation. This blog, however, grew from a random thought flashing into my brain during a discussion with my students. The free, and sometimes random, flow of discussion is one of the great joys an academic environment, and often leads to the unexpected educational discovery. Last weeks discussion began about Engine Coolant Temperature sensors and quickly morphed into a lesson in life skills.
It began, as many of my tangents do, with a question. “Who here has a great boss?” I asked. About seven students raised their hands. The first query was followed with a second, “What makes them a great boss?”
A number of students answered, and the qualities lauded were as varied as the students who responded. However, one quality was repeated again and again. One of my future mechanics said it best. “My manager has got my back.” Eloquence might not be the strongest qualities of my students, and they might be dirty, greasy technicians, but they understand the working environment. Like many of us, they have experienced excellent managers and worked for the most ineffective leaders known to humankind. Taking the information we just extrapolated about managerial excellence, I implored them to remember those qualities. “When you get elevated into a position of leadership,” I exclaimed, “Be the Manager you would want to have.”
At this point I paused, and allowed the brief silence to linger, letting the life lesson marinate into their brains. I am sure many of the students anticipated a return to the fascinating world of Negative Temperature Coefficients. But, with soap box firmly beneath my feet, I was not done preaching. “How many of you,” I broke the silence, “are the type of employee you would want to supervise someday?” This seemed to catch them off guard. Instead of a discussion about their manager, suddenly the conversation became personal. What a dirty trick, making them become introspective. But, I could not let up. I found myself locked into “Random Thought” mode. “If you were the manager, would you consider yourself a good employee?”
Allowing the question to remain rhetorical, I began to work toward the conclusion. “If we are not the employee, or the manager, we would want to work with, why are we not that person?” The passion of the educator filled me as I continued, “Why not be the employee you would want to work for you? Why not be the manager you would want to work for?” And then, the coup de grâce, “For any situation in life, why not be the blank you would want?”
And thus a blog post was born.
We should all endeavor to attain the high ideal of our own mind. We should be the parent we want to have. We should be the partner we want to live with. We should be the leader we want leading us. Why not give it a try. Going forward, for what ever situation you find yourself in, strive to be the ______ you would want.
Note from the author:
Readers, thank you for your visit and your time. Please take a moment to share some of your experiences about bosses, employees, or the random strangers we meet in life in the comment section. Were they, or you, the _____ they should have been? Feedback is always welcome and appreciated.