I was working in another state and traveling in an area unfamiliar to me. At the end of the day, I asked a member of the management team if there was a route I could take back to my hotel that would bypass the rush hour traffic.
“Of course there is. I’ll show you,” replied one of the women present.
“Terrific,” I replied. “What streets do I take?” My expectation was that she would provide directions.
That’s not what she meant when she said she would show me.
She was literally going to show me the way—she wanted me to follow her vehicle as she led me back to the hotel!
She had worked a long day and would have to drive out of her way, so I protested. She wasn’t having any of it. She wanted to make sure I arrived safely at my destination.
Her generosity and willingness to go above and beyond overwhelmed me.
Her smile and warm words when I thanked her out front of my hotel let me know that she had enjoyed helping me and didn’t see it as a burden in the slightest.
That act happened over a week ago, and it still makes me smile every time I think of it.
Smiling again at the memory prompted me to wonder if I’ve done things for others that still make them smile. I hope so and plan to make sure I perform more of those acts going forward.
Research from BlessingWhite notes that only 31% of the worldwide workforce is engaged and that nearly 17% are actually disengaged and are working against their company. Yikes. Those stats make going above and beyond even more important for leaders.
3 ways for leaders to set the example for going above and beyond
1) Care about your employees, colleagues, etc. and be fearless in showing it.
A Catalyst study found, “Employees who perceived altruistic behavior from their managers also reported being more innovative, suggesting new product ideas and ways of doing work better. Moreover, they were more likely to report engaging in team citizenship behavior, going beyond the call of duty, picking up the slack for an absent colleague–all indirect effects of feeling more included in their workgroups.”
2) Model the values and behaviors you want to see practiced.
Sometimes doing what’s right isn’t expedient. Effective leaders recognize this reality and don’t permit it being a barrier. Getting things right requires an investment in time. By taking the time to literally show me the way around traffic, this woman modelled a number of impressive leadership behaviors: commitment, kindness, building relationships, civility, and initiative. Throughout the workshops that day, she had spoken about how important results and relationships were to her. Her deeds that night were in complete alignment with her words.There's alignment between an effective #leader's words and deeds, head and heart. ~Jane Perdue Click To Tweet
3) Teach and coach with an eye on building capability and compassion.
Another individual, who was present when I made my directions request, suggested dropping my hotel address into Google maps and asking it to avoid highways. That method would have worked, too; but I wouldn’t have been privy to such a marvelous example of teaching. A couple of driving shortcuts known to locals were involved in bypassing the traffic congestion. Might my GPS have taken me on that path? Perhaps. But this woman’s dedication prompted me to re-assess what I do every day. My GPS wouldn’t have done that. Invaluable!
I was there that week to educate and inspire, and I’m grateful for the serendipitous opportunity to learn and be inspired myself. What a good week!
How about you?
How have you gone above and beyond? Have you been inspired by someone else who went above and beyond? What are you teaching your employees about going above and beyond?
Image credit before quote: Pixabay