Journey Toward Leadership
What a wonderful experience it is, to meet someone who is passionate about their job. Their energy and enthusiasm is almost contagious. They make you feel special in their midst. That’s how I felt yesterday around Hemu, the manager over at the Gray Line Sightseeing Tours in NYC. Special.
Hemu had spent a great deal of his professional career at Gray Line, having started as an entry-level ticket taker and worked his way up to the top of the ladder at their NYC hub. He knew the business inside and out. He loved the business.
When we arrived yesterday morning, about 10am, the place was already teaming with tourists, the lines snaking this way and that for the different tour options. We had lucked into some VIP tickets as a thank you for work I had done last Spring, and thus got to circumnavigate the chaos. I was in awe as Hemu mastered being present with us while simultaneously addressing his staff’s needs as they dealt with the hoards of people waiting to experience life in the big city from the top of a double decker bus.
We’ve all met people like Hemu who have made an impression on us. Not enough of them. Hemu, after he shared his story with me (because of course I asked him – I can’t help myself), said, “You know, everyone these days wants to get hired in at the top. They want to skip the jobs that they think are beneath them. But you know, it is because I did every job that I understand them. That’s why I can lead the people here, because they know I know what they go through. What their challenges are. How it all works. Because they see in me, the possibility of what they can work toward.”
We’re all so hungry to get to the top that we forget what makes it possible for us to be effective and passionate were we to get there. Maybe there’s truth to the old adage that “are no short cuts in life”. For if we surpass what it takes for us to really learn what we need to know, what we need to understand, or who we need to become to be that totem of possibility for others, then can we be as effective as we hope to be? It’s an interesting question.
Perhaps it’s our journey toward becoming a leader that really establishes the leader we can become.
©OnStage Leadership, 2013
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