Walking The Walk

Like many of you, I’ve observed some questionable, and often  atrocious, behavior by immediate supervisors and executive leadership. This often had a tangible negative influence on employees, particularly the younger ones, leading to dismissive, abusive organizational cultures.   

I’m fortunate to have also had  positive modeling in my work.  I’m even more fortunate in that one the greatest impressions was made when I was a newly-minted adult. 

A description of that experience is in the comments. 

Do you have examples of positive role models, particularly in you early years? 

At 18, I accepted  a position with a local bank. The VP of Bookkeeping led off the interview with this:


“Your primary job will be helping our branches’ customers, over the phone, to resolve issues with their checking and savings accounts. Usually, they will be grateful.”

“However, some of them will get mad at you for things you didn’t do. That part of the job can sometimes be thankless. But you are not expected to endure abuse by a customer. 

“If a customer is being abusive,  politely ask them to hold and then transfer the call to me.”

She added, “When you are not on the phone, you will be filing checks, lots of them. It can, at times, be tedious.”

Near the end she said, “Let me make one thing clear, no matter how many times you might get promoted, or how much money you might make, if we are short of staff, you may be asked help out on the phones or file checks. ”

“Nobody is too important to help our customers or our coworkers.”

A couple of months later, near the winter holidays, we got crazy busy with customer calls as shopping season grew closer. 


I will never,  forget the sight of this  VP of Bookkeeping emerging from her office, two weeks after a fall at her home, a broken toe on each foot, her arm smothered in a cast, from her shoulder to fingertips. 

She limped to a desk and picked up the phone, “Bookkeeping this is Clarice, how may I help you?”

She couldn’t write or file, because of the cast, but she fielded calls for a couple of hours before limping back to her office for a meeting. 

A few days later, she hobbled out of her office again to field more phone calls.

She clearly walked the walk, albeit with a limp. 

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