Everyday leadership: Actions might indicate potential to be a leader

Three weeks ago my wife, Carol, and I spent three days in Put-in-Bay with her brother and sister-in-law. Our second day there, we examined the island with a ride on the tour train. Our guide had lived on and around the island all her life and delivered a very entertaining presentation.

Put-In-Bay, as she described it, was a drinking town with a fishing problem. She ran a charter fishing boat off South Bass Island for several years. One of her stories told of the slowness of the postal service on the island. Her revenge check (alimony) as she called it was once several weeks late. She sent a blistering letter to her ex-husband only to receive the check the next day. Carol laughed quite hysterically at her phrase “revenge check.”

Later Carol and our sister-in-law, Tammy, walked the main street shopping while brother John and I explored the many bars. By evening we sought the Upper Deck Restaurant on the Boardwalk for supper and savored our lobster bisque. We ended the day with a survey of the beautiful large boats docked nearby.

Carol and I made our way back to get the car while Tammy and John waited for us to pick them up. When we got to the car, Carol noticed the driver’s side front tire was completely flat. Since we had never changed a tire on this car it took a while to figure out how to drop the spare. Eventually, we found the solution and replaced the flat tire with the spare only to find it too was flat.

Although the town was buzzing with tourists, the nearest gas station was over a mile away and already closed for the day. Luckily, a good local Samaritan, Rich, along with his wife and grandson offered to help. I took off the spare and loaded it in the back of Rich’s SUV. He kindly ferried me to the gas station where we inflated the tire. In a few minutes we were back at the car and the spare was installed. During our chat to and from the gas station we found a surprising connection. Rich had worked for Bill Patient who was president of the Geon Co. I had known Bill years before at BorgWarner Chemicals where he was a vice president.

Rich did not have to interrupt his evening helping a total stranger, but he did. In doing so he saved me a lot of work and frustration. Although this was not a huge investment in time for Rich, I believe his actions speak to his qualities as a person and possibly as a leader. This experience also reminded me how many connections we have with one another in society. This connectivity always amazes me.

R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray’s completely revised, third printing of “The Facilitative Leader: Behaviors that Enable Success,” visit his Web site, www.raycomlearning.com. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.