Attitude over Experience

High school was over, and college wasn’t a priority at that time. I was 19 and needed a job.  A “real” job. The newspaper ad was seeking a payroll administrator, “no experience required.”   I didn’t have much professional experience at anything and certainly nothing in the payroll world. What I did have was a great work ethic, an eager willingness to learn, and a heaping helping of heart. Hoping that was enough, I submitted my application and held my breath. 

The interview went exceptionally well.  I met with the man who would be my boss, and he loved my attitude and willingness to take on something that I’d never done before.  I asked how a payroll administrator role didn’t need experience since the person was responsible for others’ livelihoods.  I’ll never forget what he said: “I can teach the right person the skills to be successful in this role.  I can’t teach an experienced person to have a great attitude. ‘Heart’ isn’t something you can teach.” 

Mr. Leahy was, and will forever be, my favorite boss.  I learned so much more from him than how to process payroll. He taught me the value of being fully engaged in the responsibility of any job.  I saw firsthand how what we do affects others.  But the most important thing Mr. Leahy passed on to me was the understanding that I can control my attitude, mood, and mindset and be a blessing – or not – to the people around me.

When I think back to that first “real” job, working for the best boss ever, I regret how long it took me to consistently apply his wise words in whatever situation I was facing.

As I work with executives and leaders in organizations, I love to ask a few questions about their favorite managers. 

  • Who was your favorite boss and what attributes did you most admire?
  • How many of those attributes do you embrace today?
  • If I were to ask past and present employees, would they consider you to be one of their favorite bosses?

More often than not, the leaders who are truthful with themselves say something similar to “Wow.  I haven’t thought about my favorite boss in a long time.  And no, I’m not emulating what I loved most about [him/her].”

This insight frequently leads us into deeper conversations about next steps in the journey toward servant leadership, authenticity, vulnerability, respect, and trust. 

What if you could be someone’s “favorite” boss?  It’s an honor; a privilege.  Being an example takes time, effort, and personal investment, but you can do it.  You can be the leader who embraces the attributes of past respected mentors and bosses.

You can get started through a comprehensive advisory experience that includes personal coaching/advising, monthly mastermind meetings with an executive peer group, and a number of relevant resources to help you better develop your executive presence, emotional intelligence, and humility to drive greater success in your organization.  

If you’ve got an attitude of learning and a willingness to take the first step, let’s chat. 


P.S.  Book a Complimentary Strategy Session so we can get you moving in the right direction; click on my Complimentary Strategy Session calendar link here and let’s book a time together so you can get started today!

P.P.S. With over three decades of professional experience in corporate operations and executive human resources, I am a proven results-driven leader. My expertise includes strategy, change management, talent management and organizational development, employee relations, and executive and leadership coaching. I am a highly effective communicator and team leader with demonstrated ability to build long-term relationships across internal and external customer environments built with integrity, confidence, authenticity, and trust.