I planned on writing about a completely different topic today, but something happened that seriously impressed me. I went to a business meeting today at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco, where they were launching a 10 week worker wellness program. They have made a commitment to workers health through serving healthier meals for their employees as well as encouraging them to exercise more throughout the week. This did not impress me, although it is a great investment, actually investing in those who help generate your revenue.
What impressed me was the General Manager. I had the privilege of getting into a conversation with this man regarding many different facets of life and leadership. This also did not impress me, as we were talking the same language. During our conversation the group was on the move into a different room where the GM would address the housekeeping staff before they started their day. As we walked to the meeting, passing many different workers from management to housekeepers, this GM greeted every person by name, made eye contact, and smiled. This is what impressed me. Here was a man who made every person he passed feel like they mattered, that they were a part of something. And it went beyond that. He even mentioned little nuances that only someone who cares would know about others, to everyone. He walked through the halls like someone who had mastered his craft at this location for years, and when I asked how long he had been at this Hotel, he responded “three months”. There are hundreds of employees at the Grand Hyatt and he knew everything about everyone of them in just three months.
How many of us go to work and take the people we work for or with for granted? How many of us work in places where we don’t even know other peoples names, let alone anything about them? Too often we don’t know anything about the people we work with because we don’t care, they are in a different department, or they can’t help me with my job. Too often we find ourselves in a work environment with a lot of worker bees, but no Queen Bee to lead us. Leadership takes effort beyond whatever your normal work day entails, therefore we either shun it and focus on us, or complain about it because it is not there. Either way we accomplish less and work harder.
Leadership requires being someone that people want to follow just as much as it requires giving people something to follow. Leadership is much more than being able to get things done, it’s about getting people to want to get things done with you. Leadership is about building relationships so that those relationships pay off by making your job easier. Leadership is fostering a vision and convincing others that they are valuable entities in accomplishing this vision. Leadership is all about making others believe that they are involved in something larger than themselves, so that they not only invest in your vision, but they want to invest in you…as well as themselves.
Today I met a great leader of people. How often do we get to say that?