When was the last time you realised that nobody noticed the lights were off?
The other day I had a meeting with my boss. Amongst other things we talked management, leadership, and how we observe our environment... or not.
It reminded me of that moment back in uni when I realised what leadership meant to me. It wasn't about managing egos, influencing people or organising resources but about observing, seeing what others didn't and taking action to make a difference.
Here's how my leadership revelation occurred...
Picture this: Our lecturer was late. I was sitting in a classroom, chatting away. A murmur of frustration started to rise about how dim the room was. I was so used to hearing people talk about how ageing the building was, it's lack of warmth or fading paint, that I didn't pay attention until I became irritated by the now increasing comments.
I wasn't bothered by the dim ambiance (I like intimate) but I had to do something for my own peace of mind. And it didn't take long to look around, locate the light switch, stand up, walk across the room and action it before hearing the empowering whisper of satisfaction flowing through the room.
It made me wonder: why, in a group of 40 students, were a good third of them complaining, and the vast majority silently agreeing - while many of them just ignored the switch? Changing the situation was actually so easy!
The good news is we are all leaders when it matters to us.
When it matters to us, we can all take ownership and go the extra mile. The difference is both in the mundane, everyday part of life, and in what we do in the long-run. How do we keep feeling, keep looking and go beyond the obvious again and again?
When I shared this insightful event with my recent boss, I realised that how I had perceived the event was only half the story. He gave me a different perspective when he reacted to my story, with a grin and said, simply: "Maybe they didn't know the lights were off?".
It was one of those moments when the sky opens and you reach a new level of consciousness and it made me rewind back to that very vivid classroom memory...
What if this is what it's all about?
What if people don't actually know that there's a better way to do things?! When it comes to creating a business, differentiating ourselves from the competition, or deciding whether to lead silently or influence it loudly; what if it's not about trying too hard to think outside the box but it's actually about knowing what's inside, and if there is light and life inside?
Is there life inside your box? Do you need to turn on the lights?
For me, the answer lies in two parts: a work part, and a life part.
For the work part: at OmPrompt, we like to help customer service leader turn on the lights and bring more life in their teams. So I ask you, are you responsible for high volume order entry or looking for improved visibility in your order-to-cash process?
If so, you may be interested to read this article about 'How Supply Chain Automation Makes Your Enterprise a Better Place to Work'because it could help you discover how OmPrompt can help you realise your lights were off.
On a more personal note: this journey made me wonder about how others have discovered what leadership meant for them? I'm always fascinated by people's own leadership journeys. I'd love to know about yours. Let me know on Linked In or Twitter.
Each leader has a different leadership style. Some ebullient storytellers, bellowing a goosebump-inducing vision on stage to enrapture their teams. More understated leaders from behind laud the accomplishments of their teams, using other voices to captivate. Still others challenge, demand and push. They all lead.