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“I am so glad you did not listen to me,” said no boss ever.

I was shocked when my boss actually said this to me. After I got over the initial shock, I was truly grateful that he shared this sentiment with me. Let me put this into context for you.

My organization was recruiting for a senior level position. A resume came across my desk and I felt strongly this candidate would be ideal. I contacted my boss and he was… well, let’s say luke warm on the candidate. There was a “desired qualification” that he wanted the candidate to have and he was hyper focused on that specific experience, which the candidate did not have. For those of you who know me personally you know that I am not easily deterred. I kept after him, highlighting all of the great attributes and experience the candidate had to offer. I also pointed out that even though the candidate is lacking a specific industry experience, she has all the qualities we are looking for.

Just because someone does not have experience in a certain industry does not mean they cannot be successful in a different industry. Leadership is leadership no matter what the industry, the same can be said with managing and running teams, launching initiatives etc. These things are common across most if not all industries, one will have a short career as a senior leader if they are not successful in these areas. These are called “transferable skills.” Begrudgingly my boss agreed to bring the candidate in and he immediately saw what I saw, she was exactly what we needed.

Fast forward about 6 months. My boss was talking to me about what a great hire she was, then he paused and said to me, “Shannon, I am so glad you did not listen to me.” I laughed, smiled and said thank you. This statement, made me feel valued and appreciated. I would encourage any of you who are reading this to share experiences similar to this with your teams when and if something like this happens. Possibly one of your employees does something a little different than you would have, but it was successful, or maybe they did not take your advice on an initiative but they knocked it out of the park (just to be clear – we are not talking about insubordination here!). Are you taking the time to acknowledge that they had a win and you appreciate it? Those ten little words motivated, encouraged and built agency loyalty for me. I hope that I can be humble enough to do the same with those that I lead.

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