These four keys of leadership reflect observations of Bob Thomas, who worked exclusively with developmentally challenged individuals. Read his story here.
Bob never said, “Rick, here is a leadership lesson for you.” Yet I was able to cull some great aspects of leadership by observing his style. I call them the keys to “respectful leadership”.
Speak to people on their level. Bob knew the multi-syllable words of psychology and human behavior far better than the average person. However he was able to overcome the need to impress us with his knowledge. Instead he related in a way that made him very easy to understand and learn from.
Read situations for the appropriate action. Bob understood when to be forceful and when to be quiet. His actions were seldom obtrusive or understated.
Set aside personal problems. Bob was fighting a difficult battle with cancer for many years. Aside from some time off for medical tests and the sickness caused by cancer treatment, his illness never interfered with Bob’s work when he was on the job. The problems of those he worked with were always more important than his own sickness.
Set aside personal gain. Bob was able to fully focus on the needs of those he counseled and worked along side effectively because he never focused on his own career advanced. He did not have to ask himself how he should react to a situation in order to score political points or to position himself for the next position. He knew things of that nature had a way of working out in the normal course of business life if he simply focused on what was right.
This is an excerpt from “Life’s Leadership Lessons” a collection of 53 anecdotal leadership lessons, each with an anecdote and the application of the topic in your everyday life. It is designed for use in weekly staff meetings or for personal development.