Maybe it is the Millennial in me, but I hate the word “boss” (unless we are using the Urban Dictionary version of it). It has such a negative connotation in this day and age. When I hear people say “my boss,” it is all too often followed by a negative story; a story of a power-hungry, incompetent or careless person.
For this reason, I have never referred to Melissa Harrison as my boss when talking about my work. Of course, she is my boss, but she is so much more than a boss; she is a leader, a mentor and an inspiration.
Leaders are worth calling out
Some of you reading this might be thinking that I am over complicating my life by not using the “boss” label and you might be right. It would be easier to just refer to Melissa as my boss when telling a story, but I have too much respect for her to ever let someone associate her with the negative connotation that comes with the word.
When I talk about my work at Allee, I always talk about Melissa because she is what makes the job and the company so special. There are a million content marketing agencies out there, but only one has Melissa. Since my first day as an intern, I knew she was not just a boss who was looking for minions to do her bidding; she was, and is, a leader who was looking for someone to be a part of her team.
Melissa is always concerned about helping her employees. She will always work with you if you need help and she doesn’t just tell you things – she takes the time to make sure you understand. Even though I was hired on during the tail end of the recession, Melissa has never denied me an opportunity to attend a professional development event. She understands that investing in employees – even us infamously flighty Millennials – is a positive investment. She even cares about her employees on a personal level. She works with you when you need time off and makes sure Allee isn’t all work and no play; just check out the Allee Facebook page and you will see pictures from days we have spent at the lake or baking cupcakes.
Of course, this is just a quick snapshot of why I am inspired by Melissa. I just wanted to bring some of her leadership skills to light, not write a leadership how-to. You can have Melissa come to your office to speak about that 🙂
Leadership and loyalty
Melissa is living proof that good leaders lead to loyalty. As you can see from the 10-year blog posts from past Allee employees, Melissa has made such a difference in their lives that they are still willing to come back and say good things and promote the company. Not a lot of companies have previous employees willing to go out of their way like that.
In my case, I am sad to say I will be leaving Allee in September to pursue another one of my passions, but just because I won’t be working for Melissa anymore does not mean I am done with Allee. I don’t think I will ever be done with Allee. As I often say, Melissa is ridiculously good at life and I will be supporting and promoting Allee and Melissa’s work for years to come, no matter where life takes me. Bosses you leave behind; leaders and mentors like Melissa, you take with you.