He loved being the boss

Let me tell you a story.

Henry loved being the boss but he was not a good leader. I worked with him years ago and at that time I was pretty new at leading too. I had been selected to be on a team of 6 that traveled around the world to reconcile our manufacturing facilities and pick one place to have our products made. It was a great trip and I’ll share that story (actually there are several stories) another time. This story is about Henry and Tim.

Henry was not a tall man. He stood about 5’6″ or so but was pretty fit. Some would label him as having a Napoleon Complex. I realize that is a stereotype but then there are stereotypes for a reason 🙂

On this particular trip, we were in Switzerland and gathered with a large group of co-workers and clients who were there on another project. Maybe 15 people and one of them was Tim. He worked for Henry.

Tim stood about 6’3″ and was living in Switzerland at the time. He’s American, blonde haired, blue eyed and young. He lifted weights and was pretty athletic. The first day we were there I witnessed Henry berating Tim for his expenses. I listened as Henry used sarcasm and his position to ‘hold Tim accountable’ and as I listened (it wasn’t hard to hear them) I thought to myself “that’s really not that much money” and “he ought to do that in private” but it was not my circus and not my monkeys so I kept out of it.

That went on for a couple of days. Tim was having a tough time with it and we talked a bit but I couldn’t really help.

On the last day our entire group gathered for dinner. Nice place and great food and a little wine loosened up the conversation and we heard about Henry and Tim who had gone to play squash that afternoon. It’s a fast game and we heard how Henry had beaten Tim multiple times and badly. Tim was not happy. As the evening wore on the wine was poured and Henry got louder, more sarcastic and it was not pleasant to hear.

Finally, Tim had enough. He quietly said “Well, maybe next time you come we can play a man’s game”. The table fell quiet and we all looked at Henry expectantly and we were not disappointed.

The response was “AND WHAT WOULD THAT BE?”

Tim quietly said “How about sledge hammers in 6 feet of water?”. 

True story! It really happened and the result was uproar in the moment but Tim was sent home about a week later and let go shortly after that. Henry was the boss after all and held most of the power but little of the respect.

Leaders don’t do stuff like that. Leaders find ways to help their people grow. They encourage and equip so their companies, departments and businesses thrive. It’s tough to be a leader. I think the best leaders are actually servants to their people. What can they do to help them?

I wanted to share that story since it came to mind last week and I know it has nothing to do with real estate but I think the story has value.The memory made me smile so that is one thing but maybe it will help turn a boss into a leader.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-231-1578 Cell

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