About 4 years ago I took a Project Management Certificate course to improve my leadership skills. At 25 years old, I was likely the youngest in the class with 40 being the average age. Our final project required us to pair up with a partner – I happened to become partners with a man who appeared to be about 60 years old. It was certainly an odd pairing – he was more than twice my age! Nevertheless, he did a great job of making this out-of-place young girl feel welcomed and respected.
I managed to end up on his personal email list and have received a few emails from him over the years. This week he sent an emotional farewell email to his coworkers announcing his retirement from the company he had worked with for most of his life. I was honored to read his advice and I’ve taken it to heart. I will repeat it here for all of you:
One of the major things that I have learned in my tenure is that in every effort communications is key. There is always an element of missed communications that causes or exacerbates every issue. Good communications are an integral part of every successful effort, from planning through completion, from the smallest migration to the mega-project. Good project leaders are good communicators, and demand that the people they direct display those qualities as well.
If there is anything that I would say to everyone it would be to constantly improve your communication skills. Listen to yourself. Improve your delivery. Pay attention to what others are saying. Model yourself after the best communicators you know. Put yourself in situations where you need to practice your skills. And, don’t stop. Keep working to improve those skills.
In my line of work, I rarely come across a retirement farewell since the people I work with tend to be young. In fact, the thought of retirement has never even crossed my mind. But now I wonder, what is the one thing I will want to say when I retire? Whatever it is, I hope it will inspire someone just as much as his has inspired me.