Let me tell you about the best boss I ever had.
You know how you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you have bitten more than you can chew? Well that was us about a year and a half ago.
We were part of a big campaign and the work was tough as hell. You had to be churning out content round the clock and you were managing different talking heads that more often than not were arguing with each other. Plus the other side was a well oiled machine that was pulling out every trick in the book.
It was in a way form of social media triage and you had to be on your toes the whole time.
But we were great – damn great. We were pulling off stuff that we could not have imagined possible.
I guess you could chalk it up to us being a pretty talented bunch of people. But we were not just talented. We spoke up. We each had strong opinions about how things should be done. We were all stubborn in our own little ways. That should have been a recipe for disaster. But it did not turn out that way.
You see stitching all the disparate talents on our team was our boss. She jury rigged our team into a lean mean social media machine.
When something needed to be done, she was there in the front lines, making the impossible seem possible.
She shielded us from a very toxic management, and she kept the team together when morale was down. She was there every step of the way, charging headfirst into the gap.
Oh, she was tough. She held you accountable. When you are wrong, she let you have it. She could tear you down in an instant. And that bit of tough love helped transform us from just mere talents to true operators.
But here is the most indelible memory I have of her. We had this event that went to the ground and it was wildly successful. A lot of people answered our call on social media and it was all in all a great event.
Right after the event though, our boss disappeared. We were in a corner somewhere and we were all giving each other pats on the back for a job well done. It was a few minutes later when we realized that she was missing.
So I went to look for her. After walking for at least ten minutes I found her. There she was, under the dim lights of the street with a garbage bag in her hand, picking up the trash that was left after the event.
She could have told us to pick up the trash. She could have ordered the hundred or so volunteers to do it for her. But she started doing it herself, quietly working in the background like she always has.
Simon Sinek had it right. Leaders, they eat last. They protected the people under them and made sure that they were okay. They went in first, never asking people to do things they were not willing to do themselves. They pushed people to be better versions of who they are.
Leaders do not just talk the talk – they walked the walk.
I hope today that your boss is someone like that. Or if not, you find a boss like that. And when you do, hold on and follow them through hell and back. You never know where they will take you.