#25 Leading By Making An Example

Hey there,


This one is about standing out.

“Hey, could you help me out with this? Is there a specific folder I have to save my files in? Where is the edit button, could you show me? This software is pretty alien to me.”

The newbie was assigned next to my desk, and the bombardment of questions hit me like a tonne of bricks. Her incessant need for help made me rabid. Emotions all over the place, and at the risk of being viewed as an office snob, I started helping her settle in. It wasn’t like I was a pro at this, but I gave it a go anyway.

Have you ever done that weird thing? Swiftly glancing through the corner of your eye without moving your head a millimeter only to realise that the person you intended to look at, is looking back at you? Yeah, I did that. And I was trying to place my boss’ position in the office. I didn’t want to come across as a blabbermouth. Diligent, hard-working, perseverant. That’s what I was going for. But the rookie was like the hush-hush Foxconn factory in the Jiangsu Province - just mass-producing questions without any regard for human life.

My Good Samaritan gig was running out of material, and I jotted down an explanation to bestow upon my fellow newcomer to get out of the situation. Nostalgia kicked in… it brought back memories of an intimated, scared little girl on the first day of her job who couldn’t reach out for help because of her unwarranted pride.

My decision eventually was to assist her with whatever she needed until she felt a bit more settled in. I prepared myself for some chastisement because of a couple of intermittent swift glances, and I concluded that my boss had been looking in my direction all along.

My boss called me to the conference room at the end of the day. What I thought would be one-on-one, was in fact a meeting with all the heads and the C-Suite guys. My heart sank. Was I being fired?

And to my amazement, my boss praised my effort to help the new recruit settle in. That was the culture they were trying to build. That left me completely baffled.

Reexamining the situation while walking back home, I knew for a fact that he wanted to make an example out of somebody. It was my lucky day… I had won the lottery that day. Nevertheless, one thing they didn’t teach me at university was soft skills. No matter how technically sound you are, soft skills are a strong ally to have by your side.

Want to receive the latest issues of the newsletters? Subscribe Now