Gratitude Always Finds a Home

My earliest memories as a manager involve hard work, sleepless nights and lots of lessons learned. The first team I led launched an event that today raises over $1M annually to support cancer research, advocacy and family services. The experience left me humbled and grateful for the generosity and commitment of my team and the community of volunteers that joined our efforts.

This weekend, I ran into the youngest member of that team. I remember LaTaya as a smart, hard-working woman barely out of high school with a bright smile and maturity beyond her years. As I approached her, the look on her face expressed the same surprise and delight that I imagined on my own.

She held my hand firmly while we caught up. Since we’d last seen each other, she’d finished college, attended law school, started a personal business and was now a manager herself. I burst with pride listening to her accomplishments in the last 12 years.

Then, still holding my hand, she looked at me earnestly and let me know how much I taught her. It was completely unexpected, and I was overwhelmed. She listed everything from on-the-job skills to observations from her first experience in an expensive restaurant. In turn, I relayed feedback I learned from and now share with other first-time managers. We laughed at how much we each learned working together.

The team who followed me into unknown territory 14 years ago trusted me, taught me and led me to the work I do today; my love for volunteers and passion for leadership would not exist without them. Thank you, my ACS MSABC team – you live in my heart forever.

I want today’s posting to encourage gratitude. It’s easy for managers and direct reports to complain about one another’s shortcomings, but ultimately, gratitude is more powerful than grousing. And you never know when and how your gratitude will be returned.