When I was about six, my dad took my younger brother and me out on a Saturday afternoon to run some errands. We were being bratty and my dad got frustrated. As he paid a cashier at the grocery store, he snapped at her to hurry up. We walked out of the store, but my dad immediately turned on his heel and went back in. “I’m sorry,” he said to the cashier. “I shouldn’t have lost my temper with you. You did a great job, and I apologize for taking my other frustrations out on you. That wasn’t fair.” We then left the store for the second time. Ever since, that story has served as a reminder to treat others with respect and to check myself when I notice that I’m taking my frustration out on someone who hasn’t caused it.
While that day certainly affected me, I didn’t think of it as an example of leadership until I read Drew Dudley’s new book, This Is Day One: A Practical Guide to Leadership That Matters. Dudley’s book is all about seeing everyday moments as opportunities to act on your core leadership values. Instead of presenting leadership as a set of static personality traits or a role people have to learn to inhabit, Dudley presents leadership as something that can be practiced by anyone at any stage of their career, both inside and outside the workplace. This Is Day One is full of stories about encounters Dudley has had that taught him lessons about leadership. It distills this wisdom into concrete exercises that you can engage in to determine your core values and how you can act to live out these values.
To hear more about the small steps you can take to be a leader, listen to the full interview here.