How Are You Leading?
When I was growing up, I spent a great deal of time in New Orleans. New Orleans is like no other town in the U.S. The people are passionate, eclectic and very committed to their community. One particular leader in the community I had the pleasure of getting to know was the station manager of the CBS affiliate, Jimmie Phillips. Jimmie taught me three things about good leaders.
First, leaders are learners. Although Jimmie went to work right out of high school, she never stopped learning. She was a ferocious reader, attended seminars, networked and asked great questions. Harry S. Truman said, “not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” What are you reading today that is making you a better leader?
The second thing I learned from Jimmie was that leaders often see the “unseen” value. At one point in Jimmie’s career, she sold radio advertising. She sometimes questioned the value of selling “air.” However, an advertising executive once suggested to her that if she didn’t sell “air,” there would be no place for them to advertise. As leaders, we need to be able to recognize the value that we are bringing to an organization or a project. What are you doing that has value or is making a difference to someone else? Remember, it may be unseen.
Finally, leaders should remember those that they are leading. One day a month, Jimmie would spend time writing thank you notes, birthday cards and wrapping presents for her employees. Her purpose was to tell the people that worked for her, every single one of them, that they were important and they made a difference to the organization. In addition, she identified up and coming leaders, mentored them and assisted them long after they finished working for her. I was one of those she helped. I was fortunate my first internship was with her at the station. We are still in touch today. What are you doing to remember and encourage those people around you?