Friday, October 16, 2009

Leaders develop people

When first I arrived in Australia, I was unsure about where to settle so I drove taxis in Melbourne for about a year. Very educational - I learned a lot about people.

One Friday evening I had a fare from Tullamarine Airport to the Dandenong Ranges – a “good fare”. On the way the passenger and I got talking. He was CEO of a company in Sydney during the week and returned home to Melbourne for weekends. He was looking to fill a vacancy and, after quizzing me about myself, the trip turned into a recruitment interview – it turned out that my background was perfectly suited to meet his needs. Two days later, on Monday morning, I commenced working with him.

Peter was a leader.

Like every other good leader I have observed or with whom I have been associated, Peter was genuinely interested in other people and in seeing them grow. Where appropriate and possible he sought to help facilitate that growth. It was as a direct result of his influence that, a few years later, I returned to university, obtained my PhD and moved on.

It’s now more than 30 years since Peter got into my cab and set in train a process that changed my life. I lost contact with him some time ago as we both moved around the world, yet his influence and my gratitude have remained.

Think of the people who have had a very real and positive influence on your life.

Who are they?

When did it happen?

What did they do that made such an influence?

What sort of an influence are you having on those around you – not only those with whom you have a formal leadership role – but on everyone – perhaps even a taxi driver?

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