Updated: Aug 1
Leadership comes in many forms and varieties. At it’s very core though it’s always about making sure the people on your team know they are valued contributors and that they are just as important as anybody else on the team.
A lot of the times, leadership can come in the way of doing the little things that make a big impact to your team members. Showing your team that not only do you care, but that you value and appreciate your team members. I recently was travelling from a customer visit with a senior executive in our organization and when we were boarding our flight home, I had the flight attendant come to the back of the plane where I was sitting and ask to see my passport. Of course, I got a little nervous but happily handed it over at which point she escorted me to a seat in first class that our executive had given up so that I could have a more comfortable ride home. There was no pomp or circumstance, just a quick “thank you for your contributions” before he took his seat in the economy class. So, what this told me and made me feel was that our leader - who could have easily just simply taken his deserved seat in first class – wanted to show appreciation but more importantly tell me that I’m valued and that he was willing to make a personal sacrifice to show that appreciation.
Now I’m not advocating that team members always be given the big boss’ first class seats, but it does speak to those intrinsic leadership qualities that will not only make a team member feel valued but also make them know that your leadership will make the sacrifices for you as well. What is ironic about this situation is that by the simple act of giving up a first class seat (at no cost) probably had just as impactful of a result on the team member than earmarking a small merit bonus (with corporate money) because the team member knew it was coming from the person and that there was an act of giving associated with the gesture.
Leadership is done in countless ways but this is just one more way that true leadership qualities can shine through (and how they can be done very inexpensively!).