Monday, September 12, 2011

One Great Lesson In Leadership.

Last Friday I saw a great lesson in leadership from my friend, Andi. Andi asked me to accept one day of contract work. As usual, I was happy to oblige.

A Rough Day For A Family.
I am a funeral director by trade, as is Andi. She requested my assistance with a funeral at a local synagogue. Jewish funeral customs are such that a visitation the night before the funeral is extremely rare as is viewing of the deceased by the general public. Whether the family receives condolences at the funeral prior to the service is subject to local custom. On Friday, the family chose to stay in seclusion prior to the service. The family expected about 500 people at the funeral. Some of the attendees are public figures and many were flying in from out of town. Given these parameters, the family gave Andi a list of attendees family members would like to see prior to the start of the funeral service.

What To Do?
Including myself in the conversation, funeral director have large egos. It comes with the territory. Funeral Directors also pride themselves on their "following"; families that specifically want to work with a specific funeral director. Many funeral directors would have chosen to be in full view as people arrived for the funeral. Being in grand view is a great way for a funeral director to network and grow a following. Andi made a different choice.

It's About Choices.
Andi requested my presence on Friday specifically for my assistance and judgement as people arrived to attend the funeral. Why? Because Andi wanted to be "on the door" where the family was in seclusion prior to the start of the funeral service. This allowed her to be at the family's call prior to the service. This also made Andi responsible for who was allowed to see the family. Andi chose to protect the familiy's privacy (a primary request of the family) at the expense of the opportunity to network prior to the funeral service.

Leaders Lead.
The lesson: Don't delegate primary responsibilities. If it's really bad for something to happen (or not) be in charge of that part of the event or project. Forgo the flash. Take control of what's important even if it leaves you in the background. That's leadership.

What other examples of leadership can you share? Feel free to include "how to" or "how not to".

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