I’ve had many bosses over the years. Some good. Some bad.
Likewise, I have been a boss to many. Sometimes I’ve been a good boss and sometimes I haven’t been.
Here’s what I’ve learned from some good folks that I strive to use every day.
Karen Asis – Well, she wasn’t really my boss. I was an unpaid intern dying to be in advertising and PR. She gave me every single opportunity that was available to everyone else on her team. I put labels on envelopes for future press releases (remember those days?). I moved tents and tables for events. I sat with a camera crew waiting for the gorilla that was constantly entertaining visitors to do the thing that he always did but wouldn’t for the camera. I learned what it meant to be part of a team who worked long hours and loved every minute of it.
Bill Velardo – Again, not my boss, per se. He was the GM of the first casino I worked for in New Orleans. A week before we opened. He said two things that I always remember and try to live by.
“We all pick up trash.”
“Everyone is a VIP.”
Simple thoughts that make the difference in the experience you’re delivering to a guest.
Jeff Cohen – He loves to tell people he taught me everything I know. He did teach me how to have fun at work. How to relax and understand things aren’t as dire as they may seem.
Dee Dee Indovina-Cohen – Yes, she is married to the aforementioned Jeff Cohen. She taught me how to believe I could do something completely outside of my comfort zone and that I could do it successfully! Who would’ve ever thought I’d try my hand at radio sales? Not me.
Jeff Hook – He taught me how to be accountable for things. He had the most amazing memory. If someone said they were going to do something, he could remember the exact sequence of events that resulted in the promise.
Jay Downer – He taught me how to think outside of the box, but not in that leadership book kind of way….REALLY outside of the box. He developed some of the most creative ways for us to market ourselves. Honestly, it wasn’t always fun, but it did teach me to be brave.
Amanda Totaro – She taught me how to be creative. For someone who wanted to work in advertising and public relations, I really never had a feel for creative the way she taught me – listening to customers and then distilling that information down to an advertising campaign.
Denise Randazzo – She taught me a whole new world of hotel marketing and in exchange, I tried to teach her what I knew of casino marketing. Together we had an amazing experience opening and marketing Wynn Las Vegas.
Steve Wynn – He taught me so many things, but the most important was of putting myself in the customer’s shoes in order to really understand the experience I was building for them and the promise I was making through our brands.
Doug Burkhalter – He’s teaching me patience – patience for mistakes, patience for people, patience to wait for the results.
If I can manage to take all of these lessons and weave them into my day, I know I can be a great leader. The challenge is keeping all of these lessons in mind.