I’ve compiled some of the most valuable leadership lessons I’ve learned over my career and I wanted to share them with you.
Communicate All that You Know
The best place to start is “communicate all that you know.” In my lifetime I have seen two types of leaders; one keeps all his knowledge to himself, and in turn doesn’t want the team to leave him, and doesn’t encourage them to go to the next level. The second, and I hope I was this type of leader, communicates all he knows. The biggest thrill in my life was to see people get promoted. I am happy to say that many assistant managers on my Wal-Mart team went on to become store managers. At the chamber the same thing has happened, many of our folks have gone on to great jobs, and although I really wanted them to stay, I was very proud that they were taking the next step to a better career.
Love Your Work
If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you – like a fever. I have been so fortunate in my work career. The chamber is my third career, and like my career as a retailer, a store manager, and now an executive director, I can honestly say I loved all three jobs. Some had more stress then others, but I live for the challenge and all three gave me plenty of challenges.
Business owners are fortunate because these entrepreneurs have created something they love and it feels less like work. Pass that passion onto your employees and your business will thrive.
Speak to People
Speak to people coming towards you before they speak to you. I always look ahead and speak to the person coming toward me. If I knew them I would call them by name, but even if I didn’t I would still speak to them. I was at St. Vincent’s Hospital a couple of weeks ago walking down a hallway, and a gentlemen was walking towards me. I didn’t know him, but I said, “Good morning.” He returned the sentiment and then asked, “Are you lost?” I was. We both laughed and I said, “Yes I am looking for the elevator.” He showed me the directions to the elevator and we then struck up a conversation about Erie which led to Bradford, and I found out he was doctor at St. Vincent’s. I felt really good after our talk and went on my way.
Try it on Monday morning, and let me know how it goes.
If you adopt the idea of never meeting a stranger, and you greet everyone with a warm reception, you might be pleasantly surprised by the opportunities that open to you.
Ron Orris is the Executive Director of the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, where he has led the chamber in its adoption of social media and is a strong proponent for blogging as a way to reach your audience. Under his leadership membership has increased 40% over the past two years. He has also served as the city controller for the City of Bradford and as a store manager for Walmart, a position he values as teaching him a lot about customer service.