Come with me

One of my favorite leadership concepts to share with the others is the idea that “great leaders say come with me.” I don’t believe that leadership is about telling others what to do, instead I think  leadership is about choosing to join people on their journey. My belief in this concept was put to the test yesterday.

After a morning full of doctors appointments I arrived on campus after lunch with a long to-do list. I stepped out of my car and I was immediately surprised by how hot it was. When I left my home that morning it was cool so pants and a long sleeve shirt made sense. But the sun was now out and I was starting to sweat. I was ready to get to my office, turn up the AC and get to work. As I walked toward my office a young woman stopped me. She asked if I could tell her how to find the place where she could pick up the keys to her on-campus apartment.  She also showed me the email she received with the details.

The place she needed to go to was about a 7 minute walk. As I turned to point her in the right direction I caught myself and said, “Come with me.” As we began to walk she expressed that was grateful for my help. She told me her name is Ping, she is from China and this is her first time in the United States, in fact she has never been out of China. She will be here for one year studying Finance. She already has her BA, her MA and her PhD! As we walked she asked me questions about the United States, about our town and our campus and she continued to express her gratitude.

We found the location where she needed to pick up her keys, I waited with her and then I walked with her to the other side of campus to help her find her new apartment. She told me the town she lives in is very large, they don’t have open spaces like we do on our campus. She lives on the 15th floor of a building in a major city. Her parents live in another town about two hours away. She has friends from home who have also studied in the States and they encouraged her to do this. We stopped at my office on the walk across campus, I wanted to give her my business card in case she ever needed help and I wanted her to know where to find me. Again, she was grateful.

We continued our walk across campus and while it took some searching we finally found her new home. It was 80 degrees in her apartment so I showed her how to use the thermostat, she was very grateful.

Before I left she told me she wanted to give me something and she pulled a small gift from her bag. Now I was one who was grateful.

It took an hour of my time but making the decision to say “come with me” was the highlight of my day. No to-do list should exclude moments to say “come with me.”

Take out your to-do list and add to the top; act on a come with me moment. You’ll quickly find your day filled with gratitude and we all need a little more gratitude in our lives….