The hidden leadership skill you can ignite today

leadership skill

Randy Gilson and his house of many colors

By Mark Schaefer

The hidden leadership skill you can ignite today!

I used to travel to Pittsburgh on business a lot (great city!) and always stayed at the same hotel near the office. The highlight of my trip each week was breakfast at the hotel.

It was not due to their fluffy eggs or crispy bacon … it was because of Randy Gilson. I would guess that Randy was about 40 years old and he had been a server at that hotel for at least 10 years. What others might consider a boring or dead-end job, Randy approached with unbridled joy and enthusiasm.

“HELLO MARK! How are you doing?” was his typical greeting. “How can I help you today?”

Randy, an artist by trade, would help his breakfast customers with directions or pull out a calendar of events for his beloved city. Every stranger he met became a friend.

leadership skillRandy was so happy, so kind, that people frequently stayed in the hotel just to be seated in his section at breakfast. His larger than life personality spilled over to his multi-colored Northshore home (“Randyland“), which has become a city landmark. He would happily pull out pictures of his latest home creation or of some new eclectic object he added to his yard.

His sheer enthusiasm lit up the room and made all of the employees surrounding him a better, happier team.

Every time I met Randy I was reminded of advice my first boss gave me: “The most important quality for an employee is enthusiasm,” he said. “All things being equal, enthusiasm alone can make a big difference.”

Randy’s leadership skill

I took his advice to heart … and I needed to because some of the tasks I was assigned as an entry-level employee were pretty dismal. But I discovered something — if I ACTED enthusiastic, I would eventually FEEL enthusiastic. And this attitude infected everybody around me.

I came to understand that “enthusiasm” was a decision, not necessarily a innate personality trait. I could decide to be upbeat even if I was not necessarily feeling upbeat and this became a key leadership skill.

I think this also shows up on the social web, doesn’t it? Think of the people you enjoy following. Are they cynical and mean or upbeat?

This is a business skill you can choose to ignite today. Wouldn’t your life, your family, and your business be a happier place if you could insert a little “Randyland” every day?

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.


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