See Yourself and Everyone Around You as a Leader

 In Team Performance

As a kid, I attended a small Catholic school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The most influential person in the school for me was a man everyone called Al. Whether I had something serious on my mind or just wanted to chat, Al had such a loving, calm and peaceful presence. He was wise, kind, and sincerely helpful regardless of what was going on around him.

Looking back, I now realize that Al was an important role model for how great leaders conduct themselves. What’s most surprising about Al is that he was the school janitor.

Leadership Is Intrinsic

Al demonstrated so well that anyone can be a leader, regardless of where they are in the system. Leadership is about who you are and not your role. And it is so not just about people with authority, position or direct line power.

Al made me realize that leadership is about inspiring others to want to achieve your vision. He had an effortless way to guide you to discover the right thing to do yourself. And you really wanted to do your best for Al because he had faith in you. He trusted you to do the right thing. And that meant the world to me.

Leaders Create More Leaders

We need each and every member of our teams to work together toward a common goal and vision. To succeed, it only makes sense to treat each team member as a treasured ally.

A great example that comes immediately to mind is Southwest Airlines. This airline embraces a philosophy to make every employee feel valued as an important part of the Southwest family. The focus on putting their people first and promoting a strong team environment has resulted in a competitive advantage in both employee and customer satisfaction. If you have ever been on a Southwest flight, then you’ve seen how the staff whole-heartedly lives the airline’s mission with warmth, friendliness and company spirit.

The more people feel valued and trusted for the unique role they play, regardless of expertise or status within the team, the more they want to help accomplish the vision that is before them.

Picture a culture where everyone has more intrinsic motivation to get the important and the necessary work done. And most important, they feel appreciated for their role in the process.

Make This Shift with Far Reaching Implications

Try it. Revere each and every person you work with. Look out for them. Help them decide for themselves. Give them your time and your heart.

Your attitude and mindset could have a profound impact. Just like Al did to set the tone and influence my life as a leader.