Friday, April 6, 2012

8 Leadership lessons I learned from saving a lady's life | part 2

DC Metro | 2007 | Canon 20d

My back is still sore, about 5 days after this incident.  I'm hoping to be back, fully functioning by Monday...

This is part 2 of 2.  Read Part 1 here.
Nate, a fellow staff member and I were in the baggage claim area of the Honolulu airport.  We were talking to our student Patrick, who had just arrived from the Congo as we were waiting for his bags.

I saw an elderly lady, trying to take a large bag off of the conveyor belt.  The bag was too heavy for her and the conveyor was moving too fast.  I started walking towards her because I could see that she needed help.  

She let go of the bag and then tripped over her purse.  She stumbled backwards and I caught her as she fell, softening her blow.  As she laid in my arms with a complete startled look on her face, she looked up at me and said “Thank you for saving me.”

Nate came over and we helped the lady to her feet.  I asked her if she was okay.  Still startled, she replied, "I was just afraid because I've already had both hips replaced."  During the fall, her carryon bag handle got bent and would not go back down.  

We got her large bag for her as it came around again on the conveyor belt and we sent her on her way.  

In hindsight, I realized this situation had some great leadership lessons:  Here are the last four of eight.  

5.  Follow up. 
This is one step that we didn’t do, but I wished we would have.  As we were driving out of the parking lot I was realizing my back was starting to hurt.  I wondered if the lady had suffered any injuries that were starting to hurt now, like mine did.  We asked her if she needed any further help, which she refused, but we should have helped her carry her bags to her vehicle anyway.  

Walk with people for a while after the conflict.  Sometimes even after the main incident is resolved there are still things that could come up that need to be dealt with or need further care. 

6.  Know that getting involved sometimes gets messy.  
My body must have been at a weird angle when I caught this lady.  My back started to hurt soon after the incident. I’ve been spending a lot of time in bed resting up.  

If this situation was to happen again I would have done it all over.  I’m sure that my injury will recover much quicker than hers would have, if I had not been there to help this woman when she fell.  

By getting involved you are putting yourself at some level of risk for potential pain, physical or emotional. It's the nature of being present and involved in a problematic situation.  

7.  Build a culture that is safe, and minimizes potential danger.  
It's a shame that no one was there watching this elderly lady get her bags off of the conveyor belt and offering her a hand.  She was surrounded by a full flight of people.   This woman should have also, known her limits, and known that it was safe to ask someone for help.  But someone also should have taken the initiative and offered to help her without her having to ask.

Does the community that you're leading have a safe culture? Do people know they can ask for help, and are people readily looking for ways in which they can help one another?  

8.  Be a part of a team that will care for YOU.  
I've never felt so well taken care of from a community as I have here with our current staff at YWAM Honolulu. Many people have been sympathetic and have offered various medicines and advice.  One of our staff members, a former ICU nurse, even helped me get up off the ground one evening when I could not get up because of the pain.  During the earlier part of the week I was suppose to continue to do more airport runs but could obviously not help anyone with their bags.  A fellow staff member took over my duties.  When I thanked him for picking up my slack, he responded "No slack bro... can't control unexpected circumstances."

Are you a part of a team that will respond graciously when you cannot fulfill your duties?  Are you ready to respond graciously to your team when they are unable to do their jobs?  

Engage: Out of these 8 leadership lessons which ONE stuck out to you the most?  

1 comment:

  1. id have to say number 8 stuck out the most. leadership can often be a lonely position, and it's a lot easier when you know your subordinates care about you


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