I have no longer a team I direct. It’s a weird feeling. I’ve had been in charge of some people before but never I had expected it would crawl under my skin. Building an offshore business wasn’t easy. I worked day and night, I stood up with it and went to bed with it. And often did I think of them and what they did and who they were. I also wanted to get under their skin. And I wanted to make them better in what they really wanted to achieve. I grew the team within a year from 2 to 9 people in a healthy pace. Not all my hires were equally successful but most of them were at least good enough and always offered perspective in some way.
I left the team for holidays almost 8 months ago and – much against my own advice – I never got back in charge of the team. I’ve send them a quick but meaningful and motivational “So Long, Suckers!” speech e-mail which I know they appreciated.
Two of my favorite hires, one because of potential, the other because of talent just left the company one week from each other recently. And I got a little goodbye e-mail which moved me tremendously. I never saw myself as a boss but I tried to be the best boss for each and everyone in the team. Now I know for sure it was the right thing to do:
Hey Mr. T,
This is the last e-mail that you will be receiving from me from this address. I just want to thank you for being such an awesome and sometimes, an assh*le boss. I learned so much from you. Thank you for believing in my skills and challenging me to always do good work. You weren’t the perfect boss but you are the most awesome one for me! You were brutally honest and strict when needed but you were very generous in praises when we did great work.
I will never forget the time that you told me that my designs weren’t so European. Well, I am not European. My designs are so X, now. hehe! You helped me in slowly discovering my potentials and for that, I am truly grateful. Thank you for changing a piece of me. ; )
I wish you everything that is good and amazing. It was a pleasure working with you.
Let me borrow the words that you borrowed from the great Homer Simpson…”So long sucker!”
I believe that giving people room to grow, honest and constructive criticism make heavy work light. You give and you receive. I’m not the best Catholic (although I’ve been to catholic schools), but it’s one of the key values in life. Inspire and be brave enough to build meaningful relationships. It’s most definitely worth it. Big time.