I stopped at a convenience store just down the street from the golf course where I would be speaking at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. I was a little behind schedule, but needed to stop for some aspirin due to a piercing headache. I never expected I would find a line six people deep at this time of day.
I’ve been working on being more patient with some success, but given the circumstances there was a good chance I wasn’t going to pass this test. There was a young girl checking people out and another employee standing beside her watching and giving her instructions.
Why don’t they open another register?
Why doesn’t he grab the reins for a minute until they get caught up?
Before I had a chance to get too frustrated, he turned to the line and addressed everyone:
“Hey, can you believe this is her first day? She is doing an incredible
job handling all the new things she is learning, don’t you think?”
He was grinning from ear-to-ear and his sincere delight in her almost required that you join him in celebrating her. Almost on cue, everyone in line, including me, told her that the wait was no problem and that she was doing a great job.
Not only had he diffused the situation, but also honored her in the process and completely changed my mood.
How did he do that?
There are any number of other things he could have done that would have expedited the line and gotten us all out of there a few seconds quicker, but he chose a different way. He not only encouraged her, but invited all of us to do the same. As a result of that smile and those thoughtful words, he triggered all manner of good things in each of us.
Showing others kindness:
- Causes increased levels of dopamine in the brain that makes us feel better.
- Produces the hormone oxytocin which causes the release of nitric oxide in your blood vessels which reduces blood pressure.
- Reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and thus slows aging at its source.
And if that weren’t enough, he also invited us to join him in fulfilling the role that God placed each of us here for; making Him better known by the way we care for others.
It is unlikely he was thinking of any of that. As a great leader he simply cared about how all of this would make her feel… the lasting impact of this incident. The fear and concern on her face replaced by a big smile told him that he had hit his mark.
How would you have responded to that situation as a leader?
Is there someone you need to honor and encourage where you are doing otherwise?
How can you encourage this in your organization’s culture?