Throughout history, leaders have searched many ways to inspire, motivate, connect and engage others. I took a several courses in leadership in graduate school and there’s one quote which has never left me – “Good leaders serve first and lead second” as I try to remember this credo in all my interactions with anyone I meet.
However, I recently have been schooled very well and inspired in the craft of leadership by a sharp, energetic and vivacious four year old (my granddaughter). She has inspired me to share this quick lesson in leadership I hope you will appreciate as it is a simple and powerful reminder that “Big things come in small packages.
Lesson 1 – Always engage others with enthusiasm: Whenever my Granddaughter says hello she does so with such high energy and positivity. Her introduction of two words. “Hi Papa” not only sets the stage for follow-up discussion, it also “disarms with charm” as she shares her infectious energy graciously at no cost to her. However, in return I always feel indebted to her because of what she gives to me…so the reciprocation is automatic. So, the takeaway – greet others well at every interaction.
Lesson 2 – Always be clear with people and let them know what you want: As much as we think we are communicating clearly, we sometimes miss the mark and leave others confused. My granddaughter is always certain and straightforward with me as she says, “Papa, what did you bring me, Papa, I want to visit you or lastly, Papa – I want you to bring me a present.” As I reflect on this lesson in my career, it is when I lacked clarity in my communications with others is where projects where delayed, became off-track or not completed and over the years, I completely understand I must always be clear with others on requirements and deliverables at all times to avoid confusion. Take away #2, “A close mouth does not get fed”, so tell people what you want and be clear.
Lesson 3 – Always end all discussions on a positive note: As rational and logical as we think we are, in reality…we are a human beings who are impacted and connect emotionally as many studies have validated. When my granddaughter ends a phone call with me or visit – she tells me without being prompted “I love you Papa” with a smile or tells me a good story, which leaves me looking forward to the next time I will see her. This applies in our everyday family and business lives that we must we find a way (even in difficult conversations) to cement a good ending with a positive note as simple as saying “Thanks for the time as I always enjoy our discussions or I appreciate you taking time to speak with me as I know you are busy.” Take away #3, “A good start is only reinforced with a good ending” – CF
In summary, to become a good leader is a not a destination, but a journey. One must never end in the quest to find the simple things in life to shape, mode and sharpen your connection with others. In writing this note – I do so with a smile and feel blessed to know this four year old sage and dynamo has touched and taught her Papa well! Big things come in small packages and thank you Braxtyn for the inspiration and may you continue on your path of inspiring me and others with your life lessons.