By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
My family moved the summer before fifth grade, and I started a new school. I quickly realized three things. I was far ahead in math, hopelessly behind in grammar, and had been placed in the wrong class by the school secretary. The result was that my teacher gave me special attention and esteem, while my classmates viewed me with academic awe and respect. Although I didn’t learn much academically that year, I did undergo a metamorphous of self-perception. Put succinctly, I began fifth grade as an above average student who felt average and ended the year as an above average student who was convinced he was exceptional. That single attitudinal change altered the trajectory of my educational path – and ultimately my life. Yes, Mrs. Wedel influenced me immensely.
In seventh grade, I had Mr. Snow for English. Our class read and studied Dickens’ classic story, A Christmas Carol. Mr. Snow helped us dig into this timeless tale and mine its many truths. The conclusion was inescapable for me and equally profound. Like Dickens’ Scrooge, we have a choice on how we live our life: it can be for selfish purposes, or it can be for the joy of living and the benefit of others. I chose the latter.
In high school, it was Mr. Grosser who affected me greatly. With a passion for molding young minds, he was part educator and part entertainer. There was never a dull moment in his classroom, where the unexpected became routine. He wanted us to think, profoundly and deeply. His influence was significant and helped me mature as an individual and prepare for adulthood.
The standout mentor of my college years was Professor Britten. Intellectual and insightful, he quietly communicated profundity with ease, effectiveness, and aplomb. I found myself hanging on every word. Nothing he said was wasted, and everything had significance. He was the teacher whose class one took, not because of the subject material, but because of the instructor.
These are just a few of the teachers who influenced me. Aside from academia, I have had many notable “teachers” in the business world as well. Although not teachers per se, they nonetheless educated me, playing a critical role in guiding me to become the person that I am today.
Whatever your role in your call center, be encouraged that you are influencing others, even if you don’t know it. Whether a director of operations, a manager, a shift supervisor, or a front-line call center agent, you influence those around you by what you do, the things you say, and how you treat others. Like the infamous Scrooge, you can either influence negatively by pursuing a life of self-focused hoarding, or you can influence positively by sharing, giving, and inspiring others in an encouraging and profound manner.