Helping Employees Thrive

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Employees thrive

When radio host Rebecca Carrell lost a dear friend and mentor from a rival station, her boss encouraged Rebecca to visit with her former co-workers on-air. In her article for our What My Employer Does Well series, she notes, "My boss knows that people thrive where compassion abounds."

My run in radio began in 1998. From classic rock to news/talk to country, I’ve been blessed to be a voice on the Dallas/Fort Worth airwaves for seventeen years.

A radio host answers to the program director. In seventeen years, I’ve worked under exactly thirteen of them, and I’ve learned how to get along with all sorts of different personalities.

In January 2011, I left my home of a decade, KSCS, to answer the call to ministry. It was a tough decision, four years in the making. Every weekday morning for nearly ten years, I had sat across a microphone from Terry Dorsey and Mark “Hawkeye” Louis, and they were closer than family.

One morning I arrived at work with an extra bounce in my step, and Terry noticed. I grinned sheepishly as I told him I had gone on a “really good date” the night before. Almost a year later, he and Hawkeye celebrated with me through engagement and marriage. They were there through two difficult pregnancies, two beautiful children, and one nasty case of post-partum depression.

Radio can be a stressful, competitive environment, and the three of us encouraged each other through company buyouts and mergers, staff firings and hirings, and all sorts of turmoil. When it was time for me to go, I felt a mixture of sadness and relief. Relief because I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do; sadness because an era was ending.

On my last day, Terry looked at me with tears in his eyes. “I love you, kiddo,” he said. “You know that, don’t you?”

A Generous Boss

In December 2014, Terry Dorsey, the golden voice of Dallas/Fort Worth radio for over three decades, retired. He asked if I would come to his on air going away party. By this time I was well established at my current position: morning co-host on Christian radio station KCBI. Nervously, I approached my boss, Joel Burke.

Honestly, not too many program directors would allow their employee to miss part of her job to be on air at another radio station, especially one in the same market.

Joel didn’t hesitate. “Go!” He said, waving me out of his office. “Go, go, go. You have to go.”

Joel had no idea what a gift he was giving me that day.

I got to say everything to Terry that I had ever wanted to say. I told him what an honor it was to spend ten years with the best-of-the-best. He and Hawkeye patiently taught me nearly everything I know and had set me in the perfect position to blend my calling with my vocation.

I told Terry I loved him—twice. He told me he was proud of me and loved me like one of his own. Three months later he died.

I will never forget the phone call.

Terry's Transition

My husband and I were talking, and the kids were downstairs bickering when the phone rang. It was Hawkeye—at 1:17pm on a Sunday. “Answer it,” Mike said.

Hawkeye was crying. He was calling all of Terry’s closest friends as fast as he could before the media broke the story. Our friend had died of a heart attack, and his daughter had announced it on social media.

Terry had been in poor health for a long time. That Saturday evening in March, he reclined back in his easy chair and never woke up again.

I was devastated. The day I found out, I spent an hour under my covers sobbing. Then I called my boss. Hawkeye planned on talking about Terry’s death the following morning and wanted to know if I would come.

Joel said the same thing he’d said before: “Go! Go, go, go. You have to go.” He even gave me the next day off.

The beautiful thing about working at KCBI is that it’s more than a radio station. It’s a ministry, one that starts from within and works its way out.

My boss understands a key component in managing people: they’re people, and people do not thrive in a dictatorship.

People thrive where grace, mercy, compassion, and understanding abound. People thrive when they feel secure, and employees work hardest for the leaders who work for them.