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Leader, Do You Pour In?

As shared in a recent post (, I am now a participant in The Great Resignation.

In that post, I intimated the emotional roller coaster involved in making such a life-altering decision. Many of the emotions were stress-inducing; all of them were surprisingly intense.

There was one 20-minute conversation, however, that put the emotions into perspective.

Here’s the reality: I knew I was making the right decision to leave my full-time position to be with my family and work on my passions. Yet, I felt an undercurrent of guilt and questioning.

The intentionality of that conversation helped reduce the questioning and restored my purpose.

What happened in those 20 minutes? I was poured into.

If you’re like me, you may have a quizzical look on your face, wondering what it means to be poured into. I invite you to receive a general outline of how it went.

I poked my head into a colleague’s office to ask a quick question, which he graciously answered. He then asked if I had a few minutes, which I said I did, and he invited me to sit down.

He opened the conversation with this statement: “I can imagine the choice to leave this institution was difficult, and I want to do something that us humans are generally poor at - I want to pour into you.”

He must have seen my questioning look, so he continued, “I want to share with you what I have deeply appreciated about your work so you can move forward in your decision with confidence knowing you have made an impact.”

He then spent the next few minutes outlining traits he admired, specific examples of my work that impacted him, and choices I had made that he acknowledged as excellent.

My heart grew with gratitude and immense thankfulness to my colleague who took the time to see me, the human being who was struggling with the intensity of impending change, and acknowledge that I mattered, that I had made a difference.

I left his office buoyed, encouraged, and determined to pay it forward.  I wanted others to receive this tremendous gift.

So, I did.

His few minutes of time triggered many more intentional conversations before my last day to pour into the people who had impacted me.

I only wish I had started earlier.

I have to tell you, as amazing as I felt after I was poured into, I walked away from each of my conversations feeling far more encouraged and energized.

It is a powerful gift to look into the face of a colleague while sharing what you appreciate. Their face softens, their eyes sparkle, and their physical posture opens in warmth and gratitude.

The body language of someone who knows they matter and have made an impact is a sight to behold.

It is a gift we rarely give.

Why is that? Why do we not take time to bolster and pour into others?

I postulate it is because we are too caught up in ourselves. I know I was.

I’m grateful to my colleague for his intentionality and for looking outside of himself to pour into me.

He showed what it means to focus on others.

Each one of us can benefit greatly from giving and receiving a “pouring into.”

We all matter and authentic leaders take the time to show others how much they matter.

Authentic leaders take time to be WITH.

We are all called to be WITH.

I offer a WITH challenge: Identify one person whom you appreciate and invite them to lunch to pour into them.

The outcome will buoy both soul and authenticity.


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