Sometimes there are people who make an impact on your life and they have no idea. I had an interaction ten or twelve years ago that was just an average moment in the day, a two-minute conversation, something dismissible. But it stuck with me.
I was working in an office with a group of women. We sat and keyed all day; not very exciting. I was the Team Lead, which didn't mean a whole lot except that I passed out the work and had to make sure it was done by the end of the day. Occasionally I had to answer questions about our procedures. Easy peasy.
My supervisor, Derek, was pretty easy going, perhaps one of the better supervisors I've had. He was young, always had a smile on his face, always getting the best out of his workers without being a tyrant.
One day in particular, the team was keying. We sat in two rows facing each other, a group of about ten of us working away. Someone had a question about procedures. Derek happened to be on the floor with us instead of in his office, so he answered. But his answer didn't flow with our procedures. I corrected his statement and we all went about our business.
Later that day, Derek called me in to his office and asked that I close the door. This was unusual and I was perplexed. What's up?
Out there in front of them, you should have my back. To them, you represent me, you can't disagree with me in front of them. You need to show me respect out there.
It was so simple and yet made so much sense. But until he said it, I didn't get it. I didn't get the responsibility or the power of loyalty.
To this day, I remember Derek's words. He reminded me to be loyal. It's one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me. The reminder to be loyal sticks with me every day. Loyalty to my family, to my friends, to my coworkers, and to my clients; respectfulness in all things; a reminder to not make anyone feel foolish. He didn't say all those things, but that's how it resonates with me.
That simple conversation with Derek was truly a life changer for me. For him, it was probably forgotten about as soon as I turned and left his office. It's proof that the simplest interaction with someone can affect them, can change their thinking, can make them a better person.