There are some people who write about leadership principles and there are others who talk about them. There are those who know leadership principles and still others who teach them. But the most impressive leaders are the ones who demonstrate leadership principles through their actions in such a way that others around them are influenced in a positive way.
Today I had the privilege of watching such a leader in action. I was serving at a car wash with our church Youth Group raising money for camp. The day started off kind of slow, but gradually picked up. Suddenly, we had two or three cars being washed; hoses were spraying, soap suds were flying, the kids were laughing, working and having a good time. Then it happened! A young lady by the name of Madison Carson, age 15, got my attention in a way that caused me to momentarily stop and watch!
Madison was not in charge of any group, she was simply washing cars like everyone else. Madison suddenly shouted, “hey lets offer those people our chairs.” I stopped and looked up and watched Madison in action. She walked over to two of our other youth kids who were sitting in the only two chairs we had and said “let’s offer our chairs to these people because they have a small child.” Then she looked at the couple, smiled and said “would you like to sit here while we wash your car” or words to that affect. The other two youth gladly and quickly offered up the chairs and the family was grateful. Madison thought nothing of it and went back to washing cars.
Although this might seem like a small thing to some, there are three leadership principles that Madison demonstrated that can and should be applied in any situation.
1. Leaders see the big picture. Madison had a birds-eye view of the big picture. She wasn’t so focused on the task at hand that she was unaware of her environment and those around her. Leaders must be able to focus on the big picture and those around them while handling the day to day tasks.
2. Leaders see the needs of others. Madison quickly recognized that someone had a need. It’s easy to get caught up in work and getting the job done and disregard the needs of others. Leaders are continuously looking for the needs of those around them and are quick to notice when others don’t. Not only do leaders see the needs of others, but they figure out what they have to offer to meet that need. In this case, it was simply two chairs for a mother with a small child. But if it was so simple, why is it that only one person out of 15 to 20 saw the need and offered a solution? It’s called leadership!
3. Leaders take action. Madison not only had her eye on the big picture and saw someone in need, but she quickly took action. Sometimes you don’t need a board meeting; you simply need to take action! In communicating with the other two youth, Madison identified a need and offered a solution with enthusiasm and purpose. Her kindness and genuine concern for others influenced the other youth to immediately move into action. There was no need for questions or discussion, just a willingness to get it done.
I was so impressed with Madison that I had to ask her permission to write about her actions in my blog. Let this young leader be an example to all of us that true leadership is about seeing the big picture, serving the needs of others, and taking action to get it done.