A Calming Influence – Part 1

In preparation for the retirement of the founder of their company, the most senior employees were putting together a gratitude book.  These were personal messages from employees about a special memory of gratitude that they felt for the founder.

The team reviewed the messages to select some quotes to be shared with others at the founder’s retirement event.  They set out to find quotes which represented different aspects of the founder’s influence.  But they had to abandon that idea as they found that almost every message had the same theme – a calming influence.

Some of the messages that they picked included:

  • “I never left his office without feeling better about myself. He had a way of helping me think differently about my problems.”
  • “When other businesses were failing during the great recession, his calm leadership actually helped strengthen our position.”
  • “He had a way of bringing calm to the most difficult meetings so that no one left without feeling good about the outcome.”
  • “He helped my son work through some tough moments. I don’t know if my son would be here today without his calming influence.”
  • “When my husband and I were about to lose our home, he helped us calm down and develop a financial plan to get us back on track.”

As the retirement team reviewed the messages, they realized that each of them had a similar calming perspective with the founder.  The only time when they remembered that the founder was not calm was when someone of a privileged background was trying to exert their privilege to get their way.  He didn’t tolerate privileged attitudes.

When you read about keys to success, you will rarely find calming influence as one of those keys.  Why is that?  We view success in quantitative terms (e.g. stock price, ROI, market share).  Calming influence is a qualitative indicator of support for others.  It’s not measurable.  And in many cases, it is a private matter.  When you think of the great Presidents of the United States, they are known for their calming influence of our citizenry during tough times.  Those who rile rather than calm rarely are successful leaders.

A calming influence is a true gift of leadership.

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“Respect your calmness because it is the loudest voice of your strength.” – Anonymous

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.