At the end of a recent trip to India, I relived a valuable leadership lesson originally learned when I was fourteen years old.
We were having dinner and one of the team complemented me on the wide variety of skills I have picked up over the years working international aerospace projects. My comment back to him was that “it is less what I can do than it is what I am willing to do.” Many people know how to do certain tasks, but far less people willing to do the travel, work the time zone differences, read the cultural books, work the relationships and learn the customs. Coach Ed Noel taught me this lesson when I started playing organized sports. He told me there would always be players better than me, but none of them should put in more effort. Doing the extra sprints, foul shots, defensive drills, dribbling exercises and taking those darn offensive fouls will pay off in the end. It was all about what effort you are willing to put out.
People see what their leaders are willing to do. It makes a statement to the whole organization and those around it. Some call it being a role model, but I’m talking about something more extreme. It is the attitude that nothing is beneath you or beyond your reach. It is effort and being willing to do whatever it takes.
How you demonstrate your willingness to your teams?