Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

A small gesture of leadership can make a big difference.

A few weeks ago, I was one of the last scheduled Volunteer of America donation pick-ups before they announced the pending closings of their retail stores here in Rochester.

The VOA truck arrived on time with two men who would pick up a large heavy bedroom set and several boxes of household items. I could tell pretty readily that one of the men had experience and was guiding and supervising the younger man who clearly was on his first or second day on the job. In order to share the story, I’ll just call one man “the supervisor” and the other the “young man”. Actually, both were quite young which was one of the reasons I was keenly aware of the leadership that they both innately demonstrated.

When they decided to move the bed frame, the young man was backing out of the doorway holding one end of the frame and the supervisor was holding the other end walking towards the door.

The supervisor paused and stated that they would need to come back in and take the frame apart (they had hoped not to) because he realized that it wasn’t going to make the turn around the doorway to the hallway. The young man said that he thought it would make it. The supervisor reiterated that he was sure it wouldn’t. The young man respectfully persisted with a “How about we try it?”. I could see the Supervisor hesitate for a moment and then he respectfully asked if they did give it a try, and it didn’t work, was the young man going to be OK with that. And the young man said that he would. The supervisor immediately said: “OK!” And they proceeded. The young man was right! They were able to carry the bed frame through the door and make the turn into the hallway. The supervisor just said: “Well that was a good call!” And the young man broke into a big satisfied smile.

In those few moments, both gentlemen displayed mutual respect and some pretty cool examples of leadership. The young man respectfully stuck to his guns based on his confidence. And the supervisor understood the importance of respecting and engaging the young man by trying his idea. And in turn, they began building trust.

Sometimes, brief exchanges that we have with others at work can make a big difference in our working relationships.

1 Comment»

  Joseph Manhede wrote @

Thank you for sharing the leadership story.

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