Leadership Lessons From A Southwest Boarding Line
Leadership can be found in the most unassuming places. This morning, it was on my way to Orlando, Florida with our Momentum leadership team. That’s when I experienced what I call “a post moment.” Yes, it’s that small space in time when something happens that will inevitably end up on ChrisLoCurto.com.
In fact, I can’t tell you how many times someone I’m traveling with sees something and says, “I bet that ends up on your blog.” Most of the time, it doesn’t. Usually, it’s because I don’t share silly stuff for silly’s sake. I want there to be some sort of goofy human thing, which I can wrap into a leadership lesson—like today.
I headed to line up for our Southwest flight. Being someone who hates when people cut, I always ask first the numbers of the folks already in line. I had A16, so I was looking for A15 or A17. When I asked this lady and her early-twenties son what numbers they were, he said 16. As I looked down, it was C16. Knowing how much this sucks for them, I very nicely and softly told them that they were C’s. The following is the conversation:
CLo: Oh, those are C’s.
Mom: I know!
CLo: Well, they actually will be loading these in different groupings.
Mom: Oh, I know!
CLo: Oh, OK. It’s just that these A folks are going to walk right through you.
Still just trying to be as nice as possible, but quickly realizing this lady didn’t care … or is too embarrassed to just admit the mistake.
Mom: It’s OK. They can.
Here is where I am certain she didn’t care.
CLo: Woooow … look at yoooooou. Forget them. We don’t like civility.
That’s my passive aggressive way of pointing out that now she was just being rude. Because, seriously, that’s just rude! I have no problem with you realizing you’ve made a mistake and that’s all it is. But pushing to stay standing in a spot that two groups of people are going to have to walk through you to board their plane? C’mon.
So I turned and walked on to the plane. As I did, I heard the son say, “I’m just gonna stand over here.” To which she said, “OK, OK.”
Now, I don’t know if she moved, but I know what I thought. Pooooooooooooost moooomeeeeent! You see, there are a TON of lessons to be learned from this situation.
- Being rude is not a way of life.
- Answering quickly to not look silly … kinda makes you look silly.
- It’s OK to be wrong.
- It’s OK to make mistakes.
- It’s OK to admit that you are wrong and made a mistake.
- It’s OK to not wear a plaid button down shirt with capri jeans and low heels. Wait, what?! Sorry.
- It’s OK to realize that when someone is trying to help you not look silly, you should take them up on their offer.
- Being teachable may be one of the most important things for your personal growth.
- As a leader or a parent, you are ALWAYS influencing your children. There’s never a time when they are around you that you’re not.
- As a parent, and most times as a leader, you’re not raising children. You’re raising adults. As you are, so will they be. The anointing drops from the beard.
Was I upset at the lady? Not at all. Have I done “ridiculous” like that? Absolutely! Only about 10,000 times. But the goal needs to be learn and change. I can avoid those moments if I understand that I HAVE those moments.
Question: What is your take on this situation?