We can all be leaders, whatever our position in the company. A truism that is sometimes hard to take on board particularly early in our careers. Showing initiative, taking ownership, communicating effectively and delivering above expectations are some of the qualities we can bring to our jobs everyday that will mark us out as leaders.
This truism was recently reinforced for me while on holiday in Sri Lanka. Through Airbnb we found a beautiful property on the Southern Coast. Traditional architecture, overlooking a lake, set in tranquil countryside – it was exactly the kind of place we were looking for. Ahead of our arrival I had a set of questions to ask of the owner, a UK-based seasoned Airbnb host. I was not impressed with the communication that ensued. Responses were slow (certainly not the fast response time I had experienced with other Airbnb hosts) and my questions were never fully answered. The information pack that was sent just before we travelled had contradictory pricing information. As I was organizing this trip on behalf of extended family, I was getting a little anxious about what awaited us.
I am happy to report that we had a fabulous time, and that was primarily due to the Manager of the property. He was from the local village, spoke rudimentary English and appeared to have little formal education, but he demonstrated all the leadership qualities that I mentioned earlier. Quietly and unobtrusively he helped us organize our trip and took ownership of showing us the best time. He made sure housekeeping duties were done to perfection and that evening meals were cooked for us when needed; he gave us interesting insights into local history and the history of the house; he arranged sightseeing trips and other activities that we requested, organized our transport on a daily basis and even negotiated with a set of local tuk tuk drivers to take us places (he spread the business so many villagers benefited). At our departure he delighted us with gifts of cinnamon and pepper produced on the property. We were impressed by the initiative he took, well above the call of duty and his role in the business, while delivering to us an experience above our expectations. Clearly he cared.