This past weekend I flew to LA to hang out / geek out with a good friend who’s name I share. (@ubergeekgirl on twitter) She is awesome by the way. If you don’t follow her, you should. Now. I learn something new every day in the most unexpected places. I truly believe, if you stop learning — you’re dead. Anyway, in the San Jose airport I was walking to my gate when I slowed my pace down ever so slightly. Thanks to peripheral vision, I could faintly see a Peet’s Coffee over my shoulder. I never actually looked to my left but I was thinking about it. It was an internal debate to see how my ADHD was holding up and if I needed a caffeine dose to normalicize myself. Out of no where I hear, “You know you want it…” I smiled and finally looked over to the Peet’s stand where the young and enthusiastic gentleman was standing behind the counter.

I walked over to him and proceeded to agree with his statement. I did want coffee. And I did need it. But I normally forget to slow down to do what I need to do. Alas, his positive demeanor encouraged me to do just that. I am not typically a Peet’s coffee connoisseur so I asked for his recommendation. He helped me narrow down my options and, despite my indecisive tendencies, I made a selection. We chatted for a bit as he artistically whipped up my beverage. He never lost his smile the entire time he was serving me. He then proceeded to ask me where I was going and what time my flight was. I always forget minor details like that so he walked away from the booth and over to the monitors to look up my flight for me. (I easily could have done this but was quite grateful for his enthusiasm.)

I asked him how he likes working in an airport as I would presume it would be a great atmosphere for meeting quite a diverse group of people every day. His face lit up so brightly I was nearly taken aback. He proceeded to rave about it. He explained that he enjoys working by himself and getting things done. He commented on how much he loved the various types of people he was blessed to meet. He even commented how he felt appreciated by the customers AND the company. It became very obvious early on that he truly enjoyed his job and as a result he was very good at it.

It was truly a blessing for myself to encounter such a young and vibrant individual for even just 10 minutes of conversation. It is refreshing to see someone not only feel honored to serve but want to serve.

What makes a good employee? I’m 99% positive (don’t quote me) that you can’t go out to the local drug store and pick up a concoction that will turn someone into a hard working and passionate individual. I think the answer is two fold — good employees do have to want it. Just like the barista said… “You know you want it…” Good employees have to want to succeed. They have to want to try. They have to want to serve. But… good employees also have to know that their “wants” are valued and appreciated by their management as well as their customer base. Honestly, shit is going to happen some days. Bad moods are normal. Frustration is okay. But when value, appreciation, admiration and respect come into the picture on both the employee’s end AND the manager’s — this is where a successful team is formed.

Good employees have the potential to become great leaders, great supervisors and, one day, great managers — with the right supervision. And, this is where the catch comes in…

Those in management also want to feel appreciated. We are doing more than meets the eye. We work behind the scenes. And, ideally, we have been that starving employee hungry for appreciation. We recognize your strengths and want to help you grow your weaknesses. Good managers want to help YOU — the employee. Good managers want to serve.

Late Sunday, I arrived back in San Jose, got home and turned on my laptop. There it was — a spinning rainbow ball and black screen. push power button –stare blankly–

Bam. Kernel Panic. “fuck.” (This is now a comic book…apparently…)

My hard drive crashed and worse yet? I knew it was coming. I was just too busy to take care of it.

Monday I went into work dragging my feet. I was flustered. I was frustrated. I was annoyed at myself and slightly overwhelmed. Much to my surprise, my amazing team came to my rescue. I had 3 different techs hand me tools, parts, and a brand new SSD to borrow and test until my OCZ Octane drive comes out next week. You would have thought it was a scene from ER — the patient? My 13″ MBP.

I had my own appointments to go to so while I was out of the office my team started my OS install for me. They wanted to to help minimize the time it would take me to get back on my technological feet again. They were eager to help. They were eager to serve. They were eager to work. I would like to believe the reason is simple — I would have done the same for them. We serve each other. We want to help each other. We want to serve.

This is what makes a good team. This is what makes a good employee. This is what makes a successful company. Happy employees. Valued and appreciated management. And you know what? Your clients will benefit as well. They will see your passion through your smile.

So I end this rant with this challenge:

Employees — have you told your supervisor that you value him / her today?

Management — have you told your employees that value him / her today?

C’mon now… you know you want to…