You are One of Us – that’s what my client said to me at the wrap up party last night. I had decided at the onset to this contract that I wanted to work hard at being the kind of consultant that I would want to hire and have on my team. That meant being mindful of my patience and tolerance levels. That meant being mindful of extended client groups and those within the client base that had little knowledge of what I was hired to do which can bring about questions or unintentional misdirection. So his comment that ‘You are one of us’ was one of my success metrics. Another was when the CEO said ‘my staff love you’ which was further reinforced by a key staff member who said ‘no one says a bad word about you.’ 

As I reflect on that today I realize, maybe because I’m older or more mature (who knew?) that I am beginning to grasp the true extend of how my actions and attitudes affect and influence others. And how much not putting others in a position to dismiss a poor action on good grace is foundation building.  Don’t get me wrong, there were very frustrating moments, but I managed through them with some good self-talk and continuing to go back to my goal – what kind of consultant would I want on my team?

As leaders; what would happen if you asked yourself that question once a month or week or day? What kind of leader do I want to work for? And if you are not being the kind of leader you want to work for, why not? What’s stopping you? What if you checked back against that mental vision and worked at being that kind of leader for your team?

As an employee; what would happen if you asked yourself the question once a month or week or day? What kind of employee would I want to hire? Am I that person? Am I someone I would want on my team? Why can’t you have a goal of the kind of employee you want to be? Or is it all about you and what kind of company you want to work for? Or the kind of leader you want to work for?

Maybe you’re wondering what kind of consultant I wanted to be – I wanted to be fair, consistent, honest, reliable, and flexible. I wanted to be available, responsive, and accountable even if they weren’t. I wanted to be solution minded. I wanted to gladly accept more work when they needed help and not nickel and dime them. I wanted to manage their money like it was my money. I wanted to be a good guest when invited to gatherings, meeting or similar. I didn’t want to complain – ever. I didn’t want to gossip or talk poorly about anyone in the organization – ever. I wanted to listen – and listen – and listen. I wanted to be my best self – constantly. And I wanted to be one of them.

It wasn’t easy, there were times when I felt defiant and had to manage through those emotions. But it was worth it, every second breath or tongue biting. Every email answered, text responded to and call returned – it was worth it. Every weekend and evening worked – worth it, every time I listened and didn’t judge – worth it. Every time I was a good example – worth it.

It’s important to determine what kind of leader, employee or consultant you want to be because it puts structure around your thought processes and your stress reactions. It also lends to the example you set. Realistically it’s equally or more important to determine what kind of person you want to be. And in order to keep or build your reputation the effort must be authentic.

So, what kind of you do you want to be?