Private Leadership is Revealed Publicly

I met an author today who wrote a book I truly enjoyed and benefitted from. The book was on customer service, but it really went beyond that.  The book was a great reminder of the right way to treat the people you work with, work for, and just come in contact with. 

Here’s what happened.  I introduced myself with a sense of anticipation. I wanted to tell him how much I really enjoyed and profited from his work. I wanted to carry on a brief but intelligent conversation about the things he communicated. I expected to have a great experience because I already knew from his writings that he would treat me as someone special. 

I was wrong, he was not friendly. He asked my name and autographed the book, but barely made eye contact. I felt like I had been an imposition to him. He wrote about friendliness, but what I experienced was a contradiction. Hmmmm… It reminded me of a quote attributed to Dave Barry, “A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.” 

Considering leadership, it’s not what you write. Neither is it what you publicly teach.  It’s not the aura you try to display. It’s not who you portray to ‘important’ people. It is not even how those who are the point of your affinity feel about you. The absolute truth is that who you are in private determines your leadership in public. The foremost determination of the greatness of your leadership is how you treat people from whom you have nothing to gain.

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