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O, Wondrous Manager

O, wondrous manager,

Life is busy for everyone these days, but it’s never too busy for me to say thanks where thanks are due.

Even in 2014, with Harvard Business Review concisely addressing the importance of good management in maximizing organizational success, some employers still operate as if employees are subordinates motivated solely by interest in large paychecks. They genuinely don’t get why Google and the seven guys above Google on this list go out of their way to invest in–and even partner with–their employees.

high turnover teams

While only Google can be Google, it’s a gift to work here, too. You take great care to ensure your employees are both encouraged and challenged in their positions. Your care inspires employees like me not only to give my best day to day, but to find new ways to make that best even better.

It would take me weeks to list out every single thing I love about working for you, so I’ll limit this letter to highlights. These are my favorite things about working for you:

  1. You find ways to challenge me. You notice when I’m doing the exact same thing day in and day out, and use that noticing to prompt change. You ask me if there are additional ways I want my career to grow and listen to my answers, then work with me to incorporate some of the items we identified into my job. Thanks to you, I am invigorated by the prospect of more learning and growing to come. A paycheck is great, but as you know, a paycheck can be earned anywhere. Your efforts to provide more than just a paycheck will be part of what keeps me here.
  2. “Teamwork” isn’t a catchphrase for you. You encourage me and my teammates to contribute individually, but also bring us together to enhance our group’s total contributions to the company … and each other. You routinely create safe spaces for us to provide suggestions, discuss concerns and ensure we’re all on the same page, so folks within our team and outside the team know they’ll get the same great result no matter which teammate they engage. To you, being a team doesn’t just mean occasionally taking everyone out for drinks. It means developing each part of the whole as well as the whole itself, for the betterment of team and company. Through your efforts, work is an exciting, supportive place to thrive.
  3. “Work-life balance” isn’t just a catchphrase, either. You understand that all parts of your employees’ lives are interrelated. Always pushing for harder, faster, better, moremoremore throws everything out of synch for your employees as they lose footing both at home and at work. You acknowledge that your employees perform better–and with so much more gusto!–when fear of repercussion is never a factor in their deciding whether or not to attend their kids’ school pageant. You know that their joy at being able to peaceably enjoy their off-work hours with family and friends motivates them to give their all when they are working. More than that, they are able to cultivate the emotional resources to succeed. Your recognition of the importance of this balance is part of why I hope to work with you for decades to come.

I appreciate how you emphasize learning opportunities instead of deriding mistakes. I appreciate how you acknowledge a job especially well done. That’s why I’m writing you this letter: so you know I am inspired by you, not just in a warm, fuzzy way, but in one that dramatically improves my ability to contribute to the company’s success. I really do hope to be part of your team for decades to come, because any other team will–inevitably–be lesser due to your not leading it.

Thank you so much for making this the best place for me to be.


your team

Footnote: I’m not actually employed at the moment, but this is the kind of letter I’d like to be writing to my manager this time next year. I’m investing time and care to find the right employer for me, because I (i) love a great fit and (ii) really don’t want to be job hunting again in a year or two.

If you know a manager who fits this bill and needs a contracts or vendor manager in Los Angeles or Orange County, feel free to point me their way! There’s a distinct possibility of cupcakes for you. (Or quinoa, if you prefer. This is Los Angeles, after all!)

  1. November 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Great letter! I’m very blessed that my boss puts family first, and that is just a given with us. I give him thanks frequently for that!

    • November 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Awesome! My first “real” manager set me on this path. I’m 90% grateful for her great lead, 10% sad that it set the bar so high. A few have met it, anyway. ♥

  2. November 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I’m thankful for my workplace every day. I have NEVER worked for bosses who are so understanding and pro-active in keeping their employees happy. We are a small office, which helps, but either way, both of their doors are always open. Even though my pay is lower than I might make elsewhere and we lack a retirement program, the family-friendly and life-friendly environment make it extremely difficult to consider looking anywhere else-especially for someone in my shoes! I know you’ll find it, Deb!! XOXO-Kasey

    • November 13, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      The pay question is the single most challenging part of the interview process for me right now! When asked my salary requirements, it’s hard–so far–to communicate that there are so many non-monetary forms of compensation at least as important to me.

      We seriously need to overhaul how we approach hiring here. IMO. 🙂

  3. November 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I’m so glad to read this. Back in the 90’s I believe, I acquired two books recommended by my employer no less, In Search of Excellence and A Passion for Excellence, both written by Thomas J. Peters with Nancy Austin contributing to the latter. His sheer recommendation to read gave us all permission to envision, pursue and expect what you wrote in your letter. I do hope you find this job. You do have a vision and you know what they say…visualize it. Not only that, it’s the type of environment that develops great leaders. When you experience quality leadership at least once, you recognize what’s healthy, productive and inclusive for all employees and you are forever changed. Not only are employees lifted but communities are impacted immeasurably.
    I had a leader who practiced MBWA (managing by walking around.) Instead of dreading his presence, I couldn’t wait for his next drop in visit to catch him to comment, ask a question, just watch what I was doing. I felt incredibly valued just by his interested presence. Indeed, he shaped a lot of us proactively.

  4. November 13, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Good luck with your job search. Good employers are always looking for good employees–you would be a great hire for any company!

  1. December 17, 2015 at 5:41 am

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