When you think of a place like the Florida Keys, Leadership is probably not the topic that comes to mind.
Yet leadership is not limited to corporations or boardrooms. It doesn’t matter whether you are wearing a business suit or a bathing suit.
To be a leader simply requires that you speak up, step up or stand up for something that matters to you and makes a difference for others. Leadership can be demonstrated by anyone, anywhere.
Here is an example of leadership in action that I experienced while on vacation in the Florida Keys. After all, great customer service, and the leadership required to make it happen, is possible even in a place as laid back as this.
Here’s the story…
We had just come off an excursion to Chica Reef. It was magnificent! We had fresh fish from the night before that we were going to have the restaurant prepare. So we were in a great mood and in no hurry.
Unfortunately, our waiter was a nice guy, but a lousy server. He could not even get a drink order of two iced teas, a sprite and a coke right. We watched 2 tables come and go and still no sign of our meal. We asked multiple times. All we got were apologies and reasons. Finally I went to talk to the only other person I saw – the bartender.
A few minutes later she brought over free drinks, an appetizer and told us our order was being prepared now and would be delivered shortly. She apologized without making excuses and made a promise that she delivered on. She didn’t blame the waiter, but rather noted he was very new and she appreciated the feedback so he could help him improve.
Her words and actions gave us something critical to effective leadership – giving people certainty about what they can count on from you.
The Leadership Lesson…
When people are uncertain about what they can count on from you because it wasn’t communicated clearly, promises are made and consistently not kept, or excuses are made in lieu of action and results, you lose credibility. Furthermore, the people you are serving or leading feel distressed and are distracted from what they are there to do rather than motivated and engaged.
We still had to wait a while longer for our food. Yet once we were certain someone had taken the lead, we could once again relax and just enjoy where we were. Two hours after we had arrived we left both happy and satisfied despite the long wait and lousy service we had encountered.
You may not be able to give people certainty about things like promising they will have a job for a lifetime, but there are probably a lot of things you can give people certainty about in your words and deeds that would matter to them.
What do you think some of those things might be?