You just boarded the plane with coffee in hand, stashed your bags overhead, and the pilot announces, “we have a minor maintenance item, then we’ll be on our way.”
Now, anyone who depends on the airlines for their daily commute knows that when it comes to aircraft mechanics, nothing is minor. The repair might be minor, but the process of getting mechanics to the aircraft, followed by the arduous task of completing FAA paper work, is no minor event.
This is when I stand up, grab my bags and exit the plane (I have found this only works if the aircraft is still at the gate). It’s a pre-made decision based on my experience, and it usually serves me well.
As much as possible, free your people from red tape that turns a minor task into a complex, over engineered, brain numbing process that smothers morale and productivity. Your clients will love you for it, too.
The meeting ran late, the taxi took twice the time estimated to arrive leaving 15 minutes to clear security and board my flight. To my good fortune, there is no line and the security agent is waiting. This was going to work and hope of making the flight was rising in my chest until the agent said, “you have to wait to be called, please step behind the line.” As I walked back behind the line and waited, I could feel the hot fingers of anger tighten around my throat.
In that moment, I heard the voice of my boss 35 years from the past instructing me on how to deal with a difficult client. I remembered him distinctly saying, “kill’m with kindness.” Kindness was the last emotion I could think of in that intense moment. So, there I stood in raging calm waiting to be called. I passed. And, beyond all odds walked on the plane as the door closed on my heels.
When you get in a hurry everything slows down. Patience becomes more expedient than impatience. The agent could force me to wait, but only I could demand patience and composure of myself. Leadership is about exercising self-control when you’d simply like to take control. The real power is understanding the difference.
Commitment is giving of yourself generously to the people and initiative you’re responsible for. Generous with your energy, ideas, and time to wholeheartedly lead the current assignment.
There are those who play full-out and those who hold back, cautious not to commit errors, appear presumptive, or take an unpopular position. But there is one thing I’ve seen repeatedly among leaders, and the results of which I’m certain. Those leaders who play full-out, giving generously of their time and talent, win.