For this blog, I offer a simple leadership insight but it can be very key and very true in any area of leadership. My goal is not to focus the reader specifically on the religious aspect but on the Leadership Feeding Forward aspect. So often across the board as people speak about spiritual aspects, they have a tendency to point fingers or just tell people what “They Must Do”. I have had a different approach and will lightly point out how I have had very pleasant conversations with people. A key truth about this is that the approach I took is what true leaders do and it focuses on FEEDING FORWARD. Let me just give you one picture.
There was a good friend of mine named Terry who was the airport manager of the airport whereas a Certified Flight Instructor, I did much of my training students early in my career. He knew the basis for my faith and we knew we were friends and consequently we had very positive and good discussions and we knew we would always be friends. One day when he and I were the only two in the lounge and cash out area, he had some questions, and we had a very good chat. While we were chatting, a man who was a maintenance expert from the Operator from across the ramp came up to get some coffee. Initially, I was thinking about holding off talking about this but then told myself “You know this is calm and positive, so we’ll keep talking”. I could tell the maintenance guy was listening to us and as he moved for the door, he stopped at the door to hear the end of our chat.
At one point, Terry started talking about the Bible and we had a light and humorous thing were he and I said “Inspired by God……but Written by men”. We were both smiling. I said ”Hey Terry…..just say that I am God today….obviously I am not….but let’s just say today I am……do I have the power & ability to make that book written exactly as I intend even though men are writing it?” Terry said “Well, yeah because you would be God!” I said “Terry, if I just offered my son for their benefit…. why would I lie to them?” Terry stopped with insight in his eyes and said, “That is a good point!” I simply said, “Give some thought to it, my friend!”
After the mechanic heard that, he took a sip of coffee and looked at me and said, “Are you talking about the bible?” I responded affirmatively and he said “I used to go to church but it has been quite a while”. I responded with one simple point. I told him “Well the God I serve is the God of second opportunities!” He thanked me and went out to go back to work.
I simply joined them where they were and fed the thought Forward, as a leader does. What was the result? I found out some months later that the mechanic was now teaching Sunday School in his church. Also, I was off from my flying schedule and in town when I learned that Terry had died that week of cancer and his funeral was the next day. I went to the funeral and sat with a close mutual friend of ours who was the Airport Manager of Bakersfield airport (CA) and he was in town for this funeral. As we sat there, he said “Oh you never met Terry’s mother…come on I will introduce you!” As soon as Terry’s mother heard my name, she threw her arms around my neck and exploded into tears. As she collected herself for a second, she said
“Randy, last week Terry pleaded with me to make sure you were here today but I did not know you, never met you and had no idea of how to contact you! Thank you for being here”
When you truly lead and without arrogance or such and you Feed Forward, you never know the positive impact your leadership will have.
- Randy Swaim, Coaching for Relevance, LLC