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5 lessons that I learned from my father about culture

Leadership & Inspiration

Joshua Davidson wrote this article

1 Comment

For the majority of my life – my father has worked only 2 or 3 different jobs, all following the same characteristics of being a manager or higher ranking position for a major casino/entertainment organization (I grew up near Atlantic City, by the way).

Though he has bounced around from New Jersey to New York in his career, for the most part, his working life has always remained consistent.

My father is one of the few people that I truly look up to in this world and someone I try to emulate. He has always put his family and colleagues before himself, every minute of the day.

If needed, he would be there for anyone, no matter what time, no matter what the situation. It doesn’t matter if he wasn’t getting anything out of it, his biggest concern was always the well-being of others, especially his family.

What I’ve always respected the most about my father is that everyone has always loved him.

I’ve never met a soul who has told me anything less than the most amazing things you have ever heard about him. How he has always been there for them, as the best boss, and the hardest worker. It almost mind-boggling how I’ve truly never met anyone else with such a positive track record, and I’m trying to be as unbiased as possible, being his son and all.

Recently, after attending a work outing with his colleagues a few months back, the signs and traits my father instilled in me quickly became clear, related to how he has been so accomplished throughout his years in the industry.

Here is the wisdom that I have gathered:

1) Never forget where you came from.
In this particular instance, I do not mean your hometown. I am referring to your actual career, and never forgetting where you all started.

My father, for example, dropped out of college and made the gut-based decision to move to Atlantic City at the time when the casino industry was in its infancy, valeting cars at night while going to dealer school during that day.

As a result, my dad spent nearly thirty years in the Atlantic City market, at the same casino, working his way up from being a valet to the casino shift manager. By the end of his tenure in Atlantic City, my father was one of the people responsible for running the largest, most expensive casinos in the entire world. Years upon years of hard work, networking, friendships, blood, sweat, and tears – all to climb the ladder to success.

He always shared his stories with me and explained how it wasn’t a direct climb up, how many of his colleagues faced the misfortunes of being laid off, bad markets, bad managers, and things that he had to overcome and face himself. He always kept the perspective that he wasn’t where he was by default; but instead, worked his way up, day in and day out, for years, to get to where he was. This is an experience that those who are simply given their success could never fathom or use to their advantage.

2) You work for your team, they don’t work for you.
One of the biggest reasons that I firmly believe people love my father is because he isn’t their boss – he is their colleague.

That doesn’t mean that he isn’t a management and a boss figure to them – but my father always has made it clear to his employees since the beginning, that he is there to help them, see them succeed, and ensure that problems are faced as a team and crushed together, so that no one is ever alone.

Too often, I meet entrepreneurs who treat their teams, their employees, basically like crap; as a disposable resource that can be easily replaced.

People want to be wanted.

People want to be part of a team that appreciates them, and to know that they are also with like-minded individuals that they also support.

My father realized from an early age that this makes the best teams and the type of culture he always wants his employees to have. My father isn’t the boss, he is the leader, he is the one that works for them, who goes into battle with them at the frontline. This is definitely an aspect that truly establishes respect and understanding with everyone, no matter the circumstances.

3) Always have gratitude and appreciation.
Simply, this relates to everything.

Your history working up the ladder in your career.

The team you have around you.

The victories you accomplish with your colleagues.

Always appreciated when the timing is right, always show your gratitude to those that have helped you, both directly and indirectly. It not only helps you function day-to-day in a more optimistic, positive manner, but also, everyone around you will be positively impacted too. You will have a stronger team and a more valuable asset to whatever your collective goals and ambitions are.

4) Be willing to work harder than everyone else without applying guilt to others.
A lot of people that I have met work hard, but, no one works harder than my father. I honestly do believe that.

One of the biggest things he taught me growing up, is that you don’t complain about working hard, you work hard because it is a part of what makes you, and the legacy you leave behind.

Most importantly, people will always come from different situations than you, and complaining about something such as work, at the end of the day, is selfish. Especially to those who would die to have your opportunity, to be in your situation, people who want to be where you are. Working hard and having the chance to work hard is a privilege. Don’t go to bed at night asking yourself whether you gave it all you could, or could have done more.

Another aspect of working hard is understanding that you need to be realistic with what you ask others to do. Just because you can pull three all-nighters in a row doesn’t mean your team can. Again, it is the concept of not being selfish. Understanding when you need to go above and beyond, when to ask your team to go above and beyond, and when to understand limitations – both for yourself, your team, and your colleagues.

5) Remember what’s most important in life.
Perhaps the most important point of all of this – my father taught me at an early age to always have perspective in the things that we do and remain focused on what is truly important in life.

You don’t need to define your success with material things. Hell, you don’t need to define your success in actual monetary wealth. To him, and now to me, the definition of success and importance is the positive impact you have on your family, friends, employees, team members, colleagues, and neighbors. That if you are to be successful, you help other people to be successful too, since, without them, you wouldn’t get there.

I was incredibly fortunate to grow up with my role model and to have a father I wanted to be like, I have always had a close relationship with my father even to this day. He instilled in me these keys to success that I truly embrace and try to make my own – and hopefully, those reading this can do the same.

(Happy Father’s Day 2016 dad, I love you.)

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There is 1 comment. on this article. Join in on the discussion!
  • Great article!

    My father taught me that integrity is the most important value to have.

    And by acting with integrity every day, we form the basis for all our other values.

Join in on the discussion! Leave a comment and get involved.

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