I’m writing this on a flight back from New York City, where I was able to take some time to connect with Cristina, the twins, and my two fantastic sisters-in-law. Reflecting on our time here, I’m bringing home five souvenir lessons in leadership (with the reminder that we’re ALL leaders) and a great bonus lesson as well…
- Leaders are willing to share their past experiences with others. Even before our trip began, I had multiple people in my circle recommend the High Line as a destination we wouldn’t want to miss in the city. Once we got there, it didn’t disappoint. This previous above-ground train line turned walking path provided some of the best views of the city, made for great people-watching, and was a relaxing place to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon. A true leader is willing to share their past experiences, positive and negative, to help impact the lives of others.
- Leaders spread positivity wherever they go. Lenny, our doorman at the Omni Berkshire, is such a fantastic example of this concept at work. He single-handedly made our experience at this hotel fun, memorable, and enjoyable. As my twins described him, he was “Awesome, always happy, and uplifting!” They will remember Lenny for years to come and are already talking about when they get to visit him again. His personality was contagious. As a leader, how contagious is the positivity you’re creating for your teams and customers?
- Leaders stand in line. My cousin Lucy lives in Harlem, and we were able to meet her in Brooklyn for lunch while we were in the city. The combination of New York traffic and underestimating how long it would take us to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge meant we were late meeting her at Juliana’s, a local must-visit pizza place. The lines at Juliana’s were long, and fortunately for us, Lucy had enough foresight to get in line early and hold a spot (in the sun) for our group. By the time we arrived, our wait time was cut in half. That’s what leaders do. They’re the ones that step up and do the challenging work on the front end so that their teams and clients can have the best of the experience.
- Leaders make time to connect. This was an essential trip for our family, especially as we’re continuing to blend and grow. It’s easy to get busy, to work and hustle, and not take time to reconnect and slow down. As I shared in an Instagram post earlier today, sometimes we need to slow down in order to speed up, and that’s what this trip was. It was a chance for me to turn off for a bit, run around with my amazing kids, and spend some valuable time with my beautiful wife. Time to connect is easy to skip – we tell ourselves we’ll do it later. But the reality is, as a leader, making time to connect is one of the most important elements of being whole and healthy.
- Leaders take time for themselves. For me, New York City fills my cup. The energy, the people, the traffic, the crowds, the lights… I can’t help but feel more alive when I am there. Early Friday morning, before our group was awake and ready for the day, I went for a walk solo and took it all in, soaking in the city, grabbing breakfast from a street cart, and exploring. This was me-time, and it was rejuvenating for me. I am leaving New York filled up and content, ready to dive back into everything I’ve been working on back at home. Leaders need their me-time (self-care is healthy) so make sure to create your own.
Here’s the Bonus…
Leaders create surprises! Lenny, who I wrote about earlier, lined up our transportation from the Omni back to the airport today. Along the way, our driver Gonzalo asked what time our flight was leaving. We told him, and since traffic had been light coming out of the city on a Sunday morning, he told us he was going to take us off the route for a minute and show us something most people never see. With a few quick turns, he brought us to a spot in “West New York” where a local park overlooked the whole expanse of New York City. It was like no view we had seen the entire trip! That’s the last thing leaders do. They surprise their teams and clients with something a little extra, a little different, and a little more!
You’re a leader, whether it’s in your title or not. We all are. So with that in mind, choose one of the concepts above and run with it. Spread some positivity, be the one to stand in the line, create some memorable moments for those around you… but whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to make your leadership count wherever you are!
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