This is Captain Sharon. Halfway through the first class she took with me she told me that she had thought I was a snob because from a distance and on the basketball court when I played with or against her husband, I always looked so serious and focused. This was when we were in the processing of transitioning from short-term to full-time and it was very stressful! She is the most recent in a long line of people that have told me that I should smile more 🙂
But apparently I won her over and when she graduated she told me that I was one of her favorite professors and she was amazed at how different I was from her first impression. But I think what really impacted her, from what she shared, what that I used her feedback in another of my classes, interpersonal relationships, to illustrate the benefits of feedback for relationships and leadership. In Asia, and especially the military, for people in roles of respect or authority to share how they are learning from the people they lead or are teaching is extremely rare. She shared that she heard about me using her feedback and she was blown away and that this really helped shape her view of leadership and the kind of leader she wanted to be.
And it was a great reminder to me – we can sometimes exert the greatest leadership influence by being learners ourselves!