This week’s blog post comes from David Krahling.
I recently attended a leadership conference where I heard former news anchor Kristie VerMulm tell a powerful story. She was a rookie news reporter and was called to the scene of a fatal car accident, which was her first. She confessed to being terrified and uncertain. A veteran highway patrolman read her apprehension and took her aside and offered some important guidance.
He reassured her that she could do her job. He reminded her that the victim had loved ones that might hear her words and see her video. He also reminded her about the gruesome work of the emergency responders who answered the call that day. He said something along the lines of, “We work as a team out here. This is difficult but necessary work. I know that lots of people will hear your words and see the video that you capture. Just remember this is a tragedy, not a sensational story.”
Kristie learned a powerful lesson that day about the kind of reporter she wanted to be. For me, there is another powerful leadership lesson that we can learn from that veteran highway patrolman. He saw an opportunity to step into a situation and make a difference. He did three specific things that are best practices for great leaders:
- He was aware of his situation and the people around him. He made the effort to check on others and sensed a need and an opportunity.
- He took action. I’m sure he had plenty of other things on his check list at that moment, but he took the time to make a difference.
- He responded with compassion. Teachable moments come at strange times. Stepping into difficult moments is the mark of a great leader.
You don’t have to be a veteran highway patrolman, and those you touch don’t need to be rookie news reporters. As a leader, you have lots of opportunities to help someone grow. Make the decision today to respond to those rare moments in your life where you can make a difference for someone.
Continue Leading the Interstates Way!