My Dad passed away last year. Together, he and I had the unenviable task of burying my Mother the year before. Dad never got over her passing. He really thought that he and Mom would live forever or at the least, one day, just pass away in their sleep together.
I had the unique opportunity of working with Dad in my teenage years up to the age of 20. He was plant superintendent for a shoe manufacturing company in Miami Lakes Florida. I worked for him on the production floor as a teenager and during the first two years of college. I was able to observe first-hand his leadership and management style. Daily, I observed how he directed operations on the manufacturing floor. I was privy to the way he coached the supervisors and production employees on his team, and how he mentored and offered real-world, value-filled advice to anyone that needed it.
Even after I moved on and left that job after graduating from college, Dad and I would sit around the dining room table, trading stories, while I continued to gather golden nuggets from him about his style.
There are many things I learned from him that I utilize to this day. But these 5 are things I never saw him do.
1. Raise His Voice
Dad spoke softly, firmly, but never raised his voice. In fact I’m sure he purposely lowered his voice, and in doing so, caused you to listen more intently to what he was saying. Quite a technique!
2. Disrespect People
Dad respected everyone, even those who didn’t deserve it. I find it hard to do this. I’m more of the philosophy that you deserve my civility, but my respect you must earn. Not Dad. He respected everyone.
3. Take Credit for Things Others Do
Dad never took credit for others’ accomplishments. In fact, even when he was the one doing the heavy lifting on a project or a particular effort, when it came time for the credit, he graciously stepped aside. He used to tell me, “there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get credit for things. Take every opportunity you can to give it to someone else”.
4. Demand Respect
Dad never demanded any one to respect him. It came automatically. The way he talked, and his actions, caused others to just naturally respect him.
5. Force People To Do His Bidding
If there was grungy work to do, like disciplining an errant worker, or terminating someone who had gone astray, Dad took care of it. He was accountable and responsible. He never asked his people to do the dirty work.
I suppose I should have paid more attention to my father while I was growing up. I am sure I missed opportunities to learn from what I now recognize as a master leader and expert. But I did learn a few things. Many of them I still use today. And these 5 are leadership gems in my opinion.
I hope you enjoyed reading about “Old Salty’s” gems as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you.
Let me know what you think. I’m truly interested.