November 2019 is Gratitude Month at Leader’s Imago. And today also happens to be Veterans Day. So, to all of you who have served our country, I say THANK YOU.

I have finished developing a training class specifically highlighting the essential skills for an effective management style. And my Gratitude Month theme has gotten me thinking: What do I appreciate about my former managers for which I would want to tell them THANK YOU?

I have had a number of good managers in my career. They each modeled a different approach to management and leadership, and they all influenced me, stretched me, and helped me shape my leadership style. Dr. Van Zee was intelligent and kind. Bert was a go-getter who allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them (some were more painful than others). Dave was the same person whether he was talking to a senior vice president or an operator on the shop floor – consistent and fair. Robbie was encouraging, steady and empowering. Jeff was great at keeping us in the loop and trusting us to do our jobs well. Pearse was resilient, supportive and hilarious, even in the most stressful of crises.

Cary Alstadt was one of my managers and was my mentor when I was a fairly new manager. He said, “You just need to find YOUR management style. Learn what to do from the good ones, and learn from the bad ones so you know how not to screw things up.” Cary had a way with words. His motto over the many years he was Plant Manager was, “Be Safe. Make Good Ones. Make Plenty of Them. And Act Like Someone is Watching.” Pretty straight-forward! And that is what I appreciated most about Cary as a manager. He was thoughtful before he spoke, chose his words with intention, and said exactly what he meant to say. When the going got really tough, he was honest about how bad things were. And yet, there was a believable hopefulness when he would add, “We Will Get Through This.”

Cary died on April 26 of this year. And his legacy and the lessons he shared with so many of us live on. We’ll miss you, Cary.

Being a manager can be a lonely, thankless job. If you have a good one, learn from her or him – and tell them THANK YOU!