A Personal Reflection on Working with Leadership Expert, John Graci
John Graci has authored over 66 blogs/newsletters in the last six years. This month, he has something else in store for you. I am Brittany, a Strategist at Limelight Marketing Systems; maybe you have seen me hosting John’s webinars over the years. More likely, if you ever saw John on LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, or navigated through his website, Limelight Marketing Systems was the one helping John behind the scenes.
Long story short, John was called away to teach 12 hours of supervision/management training in Texas this weekend. Being that he was up against a deadline and had a very busy schedule next week, John asked that I write his newsletter for him this week. I asked John what he wanted me to write about, and he simply said, “Surprise me!” I knew instantly what I wanted to write about: the top 5 ways John has impacted me as a leader.
When I first met John, something struck me about him. He was different than I had expected. I expected someone who would try to wow me with charts, graphs, and theories about management. Instead, he came across as a family member filled with sage and practical advice that just makes sense. John has the unique ability to make the complex simple. But more importantly, his techniques are easy to apply.
During the pandemic, John knew he had to turn to virtual training. But he wanted to do things differently than his competition. He wanted a host and a sidekick: someone who could help him focus on what he does best, communicating with charisma and being dynamic, but also someone who could help him with the behind-the-scenes technical issues. In addition, someone who he could rely on to monitor the chat box for questions, field questions from attendees, and put the most important tips in the chat box. John provided me the tips to put in the Zoom or Microsoft Teams chat box. The one that I will never forget is, “If you are not coaching it, you are allowing it.” That phrase wonderfully sums up a leader’s responsibility to let people know how they are doing on the spot versus hoping the situation magically goes away.
Every time I hosted a webinar, I came away with something to help me approach others. John must have over one hundred quotes that hit you right between the eyes. “To be unclear with a team member is to be unkind” and “It’s not what I want, it is what the job requires” are some of my favorites.
As a gift for helping John with all the graphics he used with his Leadership for Leads and Fundamentals of Supervision digital videos, I was able to watch and rewatch all the videos for one solid year, just like any of his students would be able to. Truthfully, when I graduated from school many years ago, I thought I knew all there was to know about managing people. But John’s borrowed quote, “What got you here won’t get you there,” helped me understand that just because I was good at doing a job many years ago, that was of little help in getting work done through others. The “To Do” list and workbook were top-notch, and I still use them today. John even took my suggestion to build a tracking mechanism into the digital platform to help HR professionals and senior leaders understand how far their supervisors or leads may be in the digital series.
Maybe the best thing about working with John happened just last year. I was not sure he wanted me to bring this up, but he did say, “Surprise me!” Over the holidays, he said he needed to take a few weeks off to get better. John said he had been diagnosed with a form of cancer earlier in the year and needed to have surgery to physically remove the cancer from his body. As his host and social media manager, I had no clue he was sick. He showed no signs! Every day, I worked with him, he brought energy and knowledge to his customers. I asked him, “Why didn’t you say anything to me earlier?” He simply said, “Brittany, I am lucky. I get to do what I want to do in life. I have been blessed with the ability to communicate in a straightforward and direct manner. Many people in this world are not as fortunate as me. As far as being sick, many people have more serious issues. I am 59. I am lucky and blessed. I will be okay. Plus, I need to have the surgery because I can’t wait to help leaders be nice to their team members for the next 10 years!”
Unquestionably, John Graci is a talented and dynamic leadership author, speaker, and trainer. But what most people don’t know about him, off the stage, or once he walks out of a training room, or when he signs off from a webinar, is that he is a quiet and shy person who can’t wait until tomorrow to help leaders use their uncommon common sense when working with their team. John, thank you for helping me be a better leader who grows people and profits.
Be sure to check out John’s next Leadership for Leads webinar, which starts on September 11, 2023.