We all need 'a John'...
Like many Managers I am only as good as the team I manage. I do my best to develop them, provide support and provide the focus I sometimes need them to have to deliver our overall objectives. In the main 'our' objectives are my own and are made up of a combination of direct recruitment and operational support to the wider global talent acquisition function. Because of these shared objectives I have on occasion run a democracy. On occasion a dictatorship and from time to time my least favourite, a style something like “you know he doesn't quite agree but he is going to enforce the policy/approach/whatever no matter what”.
Some of my team get this, some try and fight it. They will lose but I haven’t got the heart to tell them.
John gets this.
I am lucky in that I have a broad team of interesting and interested contributors that I genuinely believe are trying to work with me to achieve the results needed or at the very least do enough to get me off their case. They are loyal to me, well as loyal as they can be given that someone eventually will make them choose their career or me. They will pick their career and I don't hold that against them. It is their human fallibility that makes them what they are.
The reason for this reflection is that of my team is leaving and whilst neither of us feel it today necessarily his moving on will be felt by me and the team for a long time to come. I have realised that it is not just management or direction or the work that we do that holds us together but those few people we all have in the team that hold it all together. The 'go to' person we can all rely on, no matter what. In my teams case it is John, who from the outside looks like any other 24 year old, doing his job well with confidence and veiled ambition.
But he has much greater impact on me and the rest of us, a real ‘secret of success’. That secret is not that he does a good job (although he does), it is in that he is universally liked. Older women want to mother him, younger women want to sleep with him. Men want to drink and play football with him. From a work perspective the newly redundant want to confide in him because they trust him, and rightly so. He has integrity and honour. He has an approach that people warm to, even when telling them bad news. "Sorry but you haven't got the job" has never been so warmly received as it is when delivered by John.
As for me. Well without sounding like yet another bromance blog I just want him to be happy and for the next people that have John in their organisation value him, nurture him and appreciate what they have before it's too late and he leaves them too. We will all miss John, we will all wish him well but I will miss John more than I should.
So for all our sakes. Look at your team and find your John. Go and give him a little hug and hope that a little bit of him rubs off and you can take that with you for the rest of your working life.