While sitting on the bus this morning an interesting event occurred that gave me an opportunity to think about the concept of leadership in my everyday life.
Per my usual routine, I stepped onto the bus, sat down, and began perusing my morning emails on my phone. Like a freight ship horn blasting as it pulls from the dock, the bus made that telltale hiss announcing that we were about to depart. I pulled away from my phone long enough to check my surroundings and be assured that we were actually moving and turned back down to continue reading when something caught my eye.
Only a hundred or so yards away from the bus a woman pulling a small backpack on wheels was jogging toward the bus and waving her arm. I was just about to reach for the bus driver and notify him of this woman’s plea, but I stopped. “Let’s see if anyone else will take the lead”, I thought.
While most of the riders of the bus were busy with other things, there was a handful of us who had taken notice of the woman and her plight on the road. In the blink of an eye our little group of do-gooders agreed without a word that we should do something.
After a second blink our sixth senses connected and agreed on a positive course of action: 'Kindly ask the bus driver to delay our departure so that this woman could catch up and join us on our journey.'
“Great!” we all thought. “Let’s do it!”
Nothing happened. Not a single person took charge of our mission and stepped up to execute our carefully planned and brilliant idea. Eyes simply darted from side to side, checking each of those who had joined the conversation for what to do next.
Don’t worry. Before the driver had pulled to far away I reached up and asked him to wait and the woman and her tiny backpack on wheels made it in time.
As I thought about this scenario, I realized how often these opportunities occur. How many times had I stopped the driver before? How many times have I opened a door for someone, or provided that last 12 cents for someone who was a little short in front of me at the grocery store, or edited a paper for a friend in school? Or, maybe more importantly, how many times have I not taken that small leadership step? What were the consequences of my decision to not lead?
How many times have you taken the lead in even the smallest way and made a difference? Or maybe there was an opportunity that you didn’t take !