Leadership and a Man Named Wayne

What I post here on Friday is not necessarily what I’ve written earlier in the week for this blog.

For example…

I wrote a post which is the beginning of the Chronicle of Oneiron—based on my book Shadows of Reality. It’s a historical account of the Land of Oneiron. I thought of publishing it in a series of snippets as I write it.

But, while I was brainstorming on that, a second post came to mind, totally out of the blue, which derailed the first post…typical!

The second post I want to publish is 10 Surefire ways to have Your Employees Hate You.

Leadership is a passion for me. Like you, I’ve been under many different types of leaders. Some I hated, some I didn’t have any feelings for—good or bad—and some I absolutely loved: it’s the Law of Thirds.

As I brainstormed for the second article, I couldn’t help but think of a few leaders I have known personally over the years.

Men and women who are the gold standards of leadership: by how they lead and how they treat their employees. It’s those type of individuals that their subordinates go above and beyond, not for the organization, but for them.


Gold Standard of Leadership…

Then, I thought of a man by the name of Wayne.

He was a steel fabrication foreman.

The steel fabrication yard is a mundane, assembly line type of work. It’s filled with the roughest and toughest men around, and it’s a place that if you aren’t paying attention to detail, you could screw up an order by bending rebar one wrong degree that would cost the company thousands or millions of dollars.  Or worse, the loss of a limb, if not your life.

So you can imagine the duties and responsibilities—including the stress—of such a supervisor.

Wayne wasn’t a large man, about average. In the steel industry, big muscles come in handy. I’m sure Wayne was a strong man, he just didn’t look like it from the outside: just an ordinary guy, working his ass off, doing the best he could…just like the rest of us.

Wayne was my Dad’s boss. They worked together for many years in a steel yard. Maybe I missed something along the way, but I never heard my Dad say anything negative about Wayne.

When I was eight years old, we couldn’t keep my dog any longer for several reasons, but my parents felt that Wayne was the best candidate for my dog’s future.

I went with my dad to drop off Poopsie (yes, that was my dog’s name). I cried. I couldn’t keep her. I cried all the way home.

Wayne was kind, gentle, and gracious. He took Poopsie in. I’m not sure if he wanted or needed another animal, but that’s just how Wayne was.

Through the years, Wayne was someone who came up in conversation with my Dad at times. My Dad told me how that Wayne would call (from time to time) to check in and say hi, even after they went separate ways in their careers.

I remember visiting with Wayne once, after I grew up. He was a soft spoken man, humble, and he always seemed to smile.

Wayne asked a lot of questions about a person to get to know them, but he never bragged about himself: his positions, his ranks, his titles.

He never talked about his credentials.

He never boasted about how many rough men or women he supervised, and he never once talked bad about anyone.

Actually, I don’t think I ever remember Wayne speaking a curse word or ever hearing anything negative coming out of his lips.

Wayne was a guy that if he said that he’d be there, or do this or that, it happened. There was no question about it. His word seemed to be gold with everyone who knew him.


For every 2 good leaders, there are 8 bad ones. That’s not a good statistic, but you see this everyday when you slog into your place of employment. You can name a dozen piss poor managers at your workplace, and probably hard pressed to mention one good leader.

But, it’s the good leaders that share the same traits and characteristics as my Dad’s boss; Wayne.

And, if we’re attentive, we can learn much from, and apply to our own lives from people like Wayne; and not just at work.

When my Dad passed away, Wayne came to my Dad’s celebration of life. Wayne made it a point to find me and visit with me. He had tears in his eyes and even broke down and cried in front of me about my Dad’s passing.

I wondered how many supervisors care that much about their people? I appreciated his visit.

I recently found out that Wayne had passed away himself. It’s too bad. Too bad because a good leader has left this earth.

So, I suppose instead of ranting on poor leadership, I thought I’d leave you an example of what a good leader is.

At the end of the day, it does NOT matter how many widgets you and I produce, or press our employees to create, but it’s the number of friends we have made along the way.



Photo by Mikael Kristenson

Posted by Christian Martin Jr.