(View of my supervisor’s office from my desk)
In my first week on the job I have already noticed a marked difference between the way that my current supervisor interacts with his followers and the way that my supervisor last summer did. My new boss, Keith, smiles and laughs a lot despite the fact that he seems to work longer hours than anyone else in the office. While this may seem insignificant, it makes a big difference when you work right outside that person’s office. Keith is extremely passionate about the social justice work we do with the judiciary, and this contagious enthusiasm breathes life into what could otherwise be mistaken for dry material. I have only been here for four days, but I have begun to get a sense of how Keith (as well as some of the other AFJ leadership) interact with their followers. When Keith needed to remind one of the associates that they had already discussed a certain problem and come to a solution on it, he was kind and polite, offering a gentle reminder rather than a snarky putdown. Similarly, when I responded to an email a little after 10pm, Keith was quick to respond and suggest that I not put in work when I wasn’t getting paid. Just yesterday, when the 400 person luncheon we were hosting started to be overrun by people from a neighboring convention, the interns had to essentially guard the doors so that the keynote speaker wasn’t interrupted. This meant we missed the speaker, as well as lunch, but Keith and the associates were quick to make sure that lunch and cocktails were brought to us at our posts so that we didn’t go hungry (or thirsty!). These gestures, taken in aggregate, have made clear to me in a short period of time that the people I work for practice what they preach and value the employees (followers) at the bottom of the company food chain, and this knowledge makes me want to work hard and well for the organization, motivating me in a way that extrinsic incentives probably couldn’t.