He’s an introvert and wouldn’t want any attention. It’s rare that an introvert would rise to the top of the hierarchy, but — there you are. God works in wondrous ways.
He was a servant-leader — he said so, and he demonstrated it. He would quietly evaluate who needed help and who could stand on their own; and then demonstrated patience and compassion to those who were learning and gave leeway for them to develop. As a newbie to the organization, I benefited much from his approach.
Once, I made a big mistake. He confronted me with it. I said, quite crestfallen, that the report was true. Then came the corporate meeting where the matter was brought up. My enemies had their knives out. I said nothing, waiting to be eviscerated. My boss looked at me, then stepped in and defended me. I was over-awed. It was a healing moment.
You see, I had spineless leaders who allowed me to be mistreated because they were intimidated by the seniority or social status of my accusers, or because they were friends with them, or because they just couldn’t be bothered. This boss was different. He had a set of principles and moral values he believed in and lived by. He was kind. And he believed in me.
However, there were those who read his kindness as weakness, and disrespected him to his face and behind his back. But it wasn’t really weakness. No doubt, he was pressed down by all the negativity directed towards him — who wouldn’t be? But he was giving them the benefit of the doubt while evaluating them over the years and then, he made his move — reluctantly, may I add. Again, I was impressed. Most bosses would have fired them in six months.
Some years later, with much more experience under my belt, another mess happened involving someone of higher rank. Let’s call him Fred.
I was in charge of the project and was working together with two colleagues and Fred. They were expecting the boss to decide in favor of Fred because the both of them frequently hung out.
The boss called all four of us together and asked me to describe the scenario. I did, in a few sentences. He resolved the matter without blame-shifting. Then I asked him, “What about this person who complained about Fred?” He turned to Fred: “Apologise to her.” Fred immediately said Yes, and did so sometime later.
My colleagues were in awe. They were so used to seeing favoritism and cronyism that they expected him to exonerate Fred and blame us. But by that time, I knew better.
I knew my boss walked according to a different drummer and to this day, I honor him for it.