Do you ever stop to think about the exceptional people who are in your circle of friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and workmates? Who are the people who inspire, motivate, and help move you forward in your life? This article is to recognize a Vietnam Vet and to highlight the importance of having exceptional human beings surround you.
Christmas 2011 and my elderly, jolly neighbor is at our house having dinner. He is one of those exceptional people who are “wired” to help others. He once noticed our house gutter drainpipe had blown down and he “took care of it”. On another occasion, he cut down a dead tree in our front garden and brought the limbs and branches to the local recycling depot. When he clears leaves in the fall, he usually clears them from numerous houses on each side of his own. When my wife came back to the house one day, and found the back door open while I was on a business trip, he checked the house room by room for any possible lurking thieves.
While at our dinner table, he told us that he had been at the Lowe’s hardware store that day and was wearing his baseball cap that had a small worn US Army emblem. A stranger stopped him and asked, “Did you serve in the forces?” My neighbor answered, “Yes,” and the stranger handed him a gift card for $25, and said, “I would like to give you this as a small token to thank you for serving our country.” The stranger then walked away. My neighbor stated, “You know, I served two terms in Vietnam over 40 years ago, and that stranger was the first person to ever thank me.”
As a seasoned engineer and professional speaker, I think about people who have been “guiding lights” and forces to help encourage me and help me succeed in life. People who have the positive spirit and can see their way through any turmoil. People who can find happiness and positive energy wherever they go. Mentors, who have pushed, challenged, and encouraged me. Strangers who have interacted with me and helped me see that there are many good people in the world.
Having worked for over three decades, I understand the importance of companies hiring not only technical experts, leaders, and exceptional communicators, but also good human beings who are trustworthy and who will instill an aura of positive energy that will motivate others.
Some traits of exceptional engineers and leaders:
- Inherent positive attitude
- Impeccable ethics and can be trusted
- Open door policy where direct reports can discuss problems
- Invites feedback and encourages people to speak with candor
- Strong, healthy sense of humor
- Exceptional communicators trained in skills such as negotiation, listening, and conflict management
- Makes friends at work
- Values work-home balance
- Treats fellow workers as human beings rather than “just employees”
- Recognizes and rewards direct reports at every opportunity
- Coaches and mentors
- Leads by example