The other day I decided to grab lunch from Chick-Fil-A. I love the place but the one I went to is built on a tiny parcel of land and the line was wrapped around the building. Because of my fondness for those blasted waffle fries I decided to battle the drive-thru traffic and stay. As I proceeded around the building to get at the end of the line I noticed a gentlemen in a long sleeve dress shirt, slacks, and a tie, step out into the parking lot and start directing traffic. As he turned around I noticed that he was wearing a Chick-Fil-A badge.
Because he wasn’t wearing the standard black pants and black polo with red striped collar (Have I mentioned that I remember the most random details?) that is the Chick-Fil-A uniform I could only assume he was the manager. And here he was, in the middle of of the parking lot during the lunch rush, making sure everybody could come and go in an orderly fashion. It was hot and he wasn’t dressed for directing traffic but he had a smile on his face. And even as one car ignored him and almost ran into him he continued to smile.
As I watched him I thought about what it means to be a leader. Often times we throw that word around and are quick to talk about ‘natural-born leaders’ and ‘building leadership capacity’ but this guy, at that moment, exemplified it. He was the manager! He could’ve sent another employee outside, in the heat, into a precarious situation, to direct the traffic. But HE went. And I’m sure that if he had to ask someone else to do it later it would be easier…because it’s hard to lead others to places you yourself won’t go or haven’t ever been.
Until next time…