Once in a while we meet someone who is special. They have presence, are mature, have been in the workplace a while, are go-to people, and are a walking university. They might not even know it, but they have a world of education they can provide. I met someone like that this week, and his name is Jack.
Jack was asked to lead a tedious, but important meeting. He was asked to lead a week long meeting and team through re-writing a process. Jack enters the room and is calm. He has the week planned. His extensive experience has taught him how to lead these types of meetings which is why they choose him in the first place.
If you spend time observing people you can learn so much about life. You can figure out who you should get close to and who you should get away from. Jack is one of those people you want to get close to. He has earned the respect of his peers from years of doing things right. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience, and can teach us things that we would never learn in college.
If you listen to Jack you can learn how to handle difficult people, strong personalities, and how to get others to speak up. Jack knows when to talk, and when to be silent. It’s a special skill. His maturity gives him the insight needed to know how to lead a specific team. He understands their flow, and wields their strengths and weaknesses so that the task gets done.
People like Jack have degrees, but so much more. They have a life time of experience that has given them insight and maturity. They have climbed the corporate ladder, and are now in a place where the corporation seeks them out to get things done.
Jack asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to be apart of the next team that would re-write a document. I volunteered. Why? Because I want to be close to Jack. He can teach me more than any book, class or degree. He demonstrates how to be the person and employee everyone is trying to teach you to be.
I want to be Jack. I want to lead the team, demonstrate maturity, and be the go-to person for the corporation. If I want to become like Jack, I need to learn from him.
Jack taught me how to control the room, but let people work. He taught me that it is okay to listen. If the team has a good work flow then we should leave them alone. He taught me how to intervene when the group runs down a bunny trail, and how to handle people who monopolize the groups time.
Jack demonstrated how a true leader leads from within, not from being in the front. A true leader keeps their focus on the goal, not their personal agenda. They are not out to get anyone, or show favorites. They are there to help the team focus on the task, and work towards a common solution.
I look forward to being apart of the next team. To be honest, my job on the team is stressful and tedious, but being a part of a team where I can learn from Jack will be priceless. If we look at every situation as an opportunity to learn, we will find something beneficial for our life and career.
A life where we stop learning is not a life worth living. People like Jack can teach us a lot if we will observe, listen and learn.