“Hello, how are ‘ya?”
“Good to see you!”
“Hey, it’s been a while.”
That’s how lunch went in the dining establishment that was so fancy, so ritzy, that even the napkins were flecked with gold.
As I dined with the top officer of a blue chip insurance firm you would surely know by name (um, if you’re curious, they’re “on your side”), it seemed everyone around us knew him.
We were chatting about the “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” presentation I’d just completed, and where to take the message of the QBQ! book next inside the organization.
When it was time to leave, we stood, turned toward the front door, stepped slightly to the right, and ….
… placed our plastic meal trays on the rubber conveyor belt rolling unceasingly to the kitchen.
I lied. We weren’t at a swanky place. We were in the company cafeteria, using plastic forks and plates—and napkins that were definitely not gold flecked.
In both Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional and Parenting the QBQ Way (our books), we teach this:
[Tweet “Humility is the cornerstone of leadership.”]
No need to use words to define that phrase, since I just gave you a picture of humility worth ten thousand words.
I do wish, though, that I could describe the faces of the people the COO acknowledged in that cafeteria. I am positive each one was thinking …
What a nice man. He knows who I am. That feels good. I like working here.
When I asked Mr. COO what it’s like to eat where absolutely everyone who walks by knows who you are, he said,
“This is where I should be, and need to be. It’s a chance for people to come up and say, ‘What we need to do more of is … ’ and ‘Hey, we should be …. !’”
Huh. Humble and smart. Getting ideas from the people who do the real work. But that’s another blog someday …
Coach Chuck Knoll, who won four NFL Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers, just passed away at 82. Former players report that in training camp following each championship season, he would say, “You can put your Super Bowl ring up on the shelf now because there’s nothing you did last year that’s going to win you a starting spot this year.”
Strong words, that probably needed to be heard by professional athletes. Through these words, Coach Knoll delivered a powerful lesson in humility to his players.
Through his actions, our cafeteria COO delivers a powerful example of humility to his people.
Leadership … it’s not complicated.
In what ways have you seen leaders demonstrate humility?
How will you apply this lesson in being humble?