How do people feel after you’ve left the room?

Amanda Bledsoe

Amanda Bledsoe (IL '13), marketing manager, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

by Amanda Bledsoe, Ignite Louisville Class of 2013 –

As my Ignite Louisville classmates and I pass the halfway point of our program, I’ve picked up on several recurring themes that are important to impactful leadership. None stick out to me more than RELATIONSHIPS. We heard the importance of team trust and accountability from our Army mentors back in the fall, and Norton Healthcare’s Lynnie Meyer shared the compelling story of how relationships have shaped her career.

But at our most recent program day, called ‘Leading Outside the Brown Paper Bag,’ Yum! Brands’ Justin Patton painted the picture of relationship development in a way I’ll never forget when he told us to consider our “emotional wake”: When you leave a room or end a conversation, what’s the feeling you leave behind for the person or people you were interacting with? Did you build or hurt a relationship?

Now pause. Consider your last encounter with another human being (supervisor, spouse, direct report, cashier). How do you think that person feels right now based on how you treated them?

We’ve all heard that oh-so-true Maya Angelou quote, that people really only remember how you made them feel. Is your emotional wake rushed, dismissive and brusque? Or do you leave people feeling respected, acknowledged and encouraged?

The Leadership Louisville Center definitely gets the value of relationship in business, and gives its members opportunities at every turn to reach out to other leaders throughout the community. One such opportunity was the recent member event where a group of Leadership Louisville members heard from Julie Hermann, executive senior associate athletic director for the University of Louisville. Hermann is obviously a relationship expert; that’s what it takes in successful recruiting, hiring, fundraising and community building.

An accomplished person like Hermann could have taken the podium and preached about success factors and dropped names all morning to prove her importance. Instead, she made the audience feel like her friends. She was compelling, relatable and genuine.

I emailed Hermann to say thanks for what she shared. Within in an hour I had a thoughtful, personal response. Guess how that made me feel?