I was reflecting on a comment that my friend, Anna, wrote regarding a Facebook post yesterday. I was honored and humbled that she spoke so kindly regarding my meager efforts to encourage my many friends through my postings as well as my blog entries. Her saying that I was, ‘inspirational,’ to others…inspired me!
My friend, Winton, also had gracious comments for me yesterday. Again, I was taken aback…and know that they must be talking about another Jay Brooks!
During my career at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale I was inspired by so many of my colleagues as well as many members of the University Community! I was befriended and mentored and complimented, at times, and I became part of a loving and caring family.
I began my service as a young man of 20 years and had little more than a willingness to work hard and be a professional housekeeper. Through the years so many wonderful people took an interest in me and cared about my welfare that I counted members of SIUC from all parts of the Campus as my friends.
Nothing thrilled me more than to offer the opportunity of employment in Building Services to people that would have not easily accessed the position. When I could help someone who had no political voice or ‘pull’ from within the institution…it was the highpoint of my career!
I remember how it felt not to be the popular kid. I recall what it was like to be lonely. I know the confusion of a leader underselling my abilities and making fun of my efforts.
I so enjoyed being an advocate for my colleagues that I thought seriously about not retiring. There are so many of us that have no voice and desperately need someone to speak for us and take our part and explain what it is like to be us.
I often said, regarding our wonderful staff at Building Services, that we have no idea what burdens they are bearing. We have not a clue the challenges that they are working through on a daily and even an hourly basis. We, as managers and supervisors must be about uplifting our colleagues and not putting our foot on their neck and making their life more difficult!
I watched for years before I became a manager…how devastating and life changing a hurtful word or attitude from the boss could be! With position and with title and with authority comes responsibility! When I had a private constructive criticism meeting with a member of our staff I would begin the meeting with a well deserved compliment regarding their work performance and then the constructive criticism, only about job performance, and conclude the meeting with an additional encouragement and praise for the person’s demonstrated strengths and value to our department.
Irregardless of what people say about a leader…they are watching and listening and deciding if you are fair and if you care about them! Hurtful words hurt employees!