Positive Quote: “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” —Bill Bradley
When I think back to all the people I consider great leaders, what they all have in common is that in some way, shape, or form they helped me and others become better, smarter, and more knowledgeable.
They did not just focus on the day to day work; which by the way does not go away. They focused on the softer side of development. Maybe it was recommending a book that they read where they thought it could help me. Or bringing up key focus areas and providing suggestions where I could work on things. Or even telling me I was working too hard and helping me realize that stepping away did not make me less of a leader.
One of the earliest leaders I remember was a teacher I had in my freshman year of high school. It was at OceansideHigh School in, you guessed it, Oceanside, CA. He was my teacher in a class called Business Financial Living – fancy name that just meant running the student campus store. It was my first taste of understanding what it takes to run a business; from ordering inventory, inventory control, running a register, balancing the money, and making sure there were profits. The student store sold items like pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, etc… and snacks.
Anyway, this teacher believed in two things over all else;
1) Be on time, showing up at 6 am and putting away your things meant you were late. You should arrive at work with enough time to get settled and be ready to be working by the start of your shift. To this day, if I arrive on time I feel late.
2) The little things add up and matter. If you let everyone underpay because they are short of money it will add up and your day will be a net loss. It’s ok to make exceptions based on the circumstance but not as a rule. Most importantly validate and verify that what you say or do is accurate. If someone asks if you have something in stock and you say yes, make sure you really do before answering.
These are lessons I continue to live by and are just a small part of what made him a great leader in my mind. He could have trained me on the hows of things and not the whys and I could have still learned the basics…. However, it would not have stuck with me so many, many years later.
My hope is that those that may see me as a leader can look back and know I cared, valued them as individuals, and ultimately wanted to help them grow and learn.
What does this quote make you think of?
Have a terrific Thursday.