How you make people feel about themselves says an awful lot about you. No one knows who’s quote this is but I figure if I say it enough eventually it will be attributed to me. No? Ok but I can live it. It’s the number one way to create your legacy. Be that person.
You can be that person in any number of ways to any number of people or groups of people. But how will you know if, let me rephrase, when you’ve become that person? Oh you’ll know…
I had the distinct honor of attending a Sales Manager’s function this week and it became perfectly clear after the many hugs and kisses and stories that I had become that person. Define “that” in whatever way you choose. For some I was helpful, for some I was fair, for some I was a pain in the ass. One of the manager’s began telling the story of our first encounter when after the third email I may have said something along the lines of “I’m really not the person you want to be strong arming”. The collective gasp was not because I may have said that but because this manager got me there. And the stories began to emerge about the time she…. Don’t worry they were all happy endings, I think. If nothing else they were hysterical.
I’ve had the great fortune to be doing what I do for many years and so I’ve become part of the vernacular and part of the day to day. I’m that person you call when…If anyone will know…Let’s start with… I know almost everyone and if I don’t know them they know me, how cool is that?
While circulating with the crowd, if there is someone new, I introduce them to someone old. If they’ve just arrived I herd them over to their Area Manager. I ask about their family and their business and their sales people. One of the descriptions went something like the high school chaperone making sure everyone mingled. Just love that.
When you go to work each day the temptation to just do what you need to do and get up and do it again, as Jackson Browne said, isn’t my style. For whatever reason, boredom sets in easily for me, I see things that need to be fixed, and I’m a big picture person. These are things that don’t easily fit into a performance review. Samuel A Culbert wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal, “To my way of thinking, a one-sided-accountable, boss-administered review is little more than a dysfunctional pretense. It’s a negative corporate performance, an obstacle to straight talk relationships, and a prime cause of low morale at work.” If you know me you know like you know I’m a straight talk kind of a woman. Further, I may have mentioned once or twice that a former boss of mine once described me as having the ability to slap you so hard you think you got a kiss. That about sums it up.
Though these things may not be performance review worthy they are genuinely part of my work routine. If one could measure their work in the number of hugs received at these events then one would be sure to get a very nice raise. Instead I get respect and that Cinderella feeling of being the Belle of the Ball. I am grateful to work with these people; they are a unique bunch with their feet firmly planted on the ground and a work ethic that has completely annihilated the stereotype of car sales manager. I am especially grateful to the individual who went to each and every bar in the hotel and adjoining club until he found a Dubonet for me. Zeke you are my hero.
And I’m not talking about just the men. You’re aware this is still a male centric business right? The women sales managers are cut from a very similar cloth as I am; the slap-them-so-hard cloth. The straight talking, pragmatic, we’ve got our own way of doing things thank you very much cloth. Car Hags one and all and I say that with the utmost respect and admiration being one of the original Car Hags.
In reflecting on this event it occurred to me that my mentor taught me most of what I know about this business and its people. He is no longer with us but the respect paid him at the end of his life was out the door and around the building if you know what I mean. He was “that person”; I can only hope to follow so completely in his footsteps.