Be On Time and Work Hard.

I fondly remember one of my earliest leadership lessons, work hard.

“Lead with your actions, and your words will have more impact.” – Tony Dungy

Moving swiftly around the dining room, collecting dirty dishes and quickly resetting tables, I was a busboy at a newly open restaurant at the big downtown hotel. It was Friday night, and we were busy and fully booked.

Between cleaning tables, I delivered glasses of cold water and freshly baked bread and butter trays as guests were seated. I cleared plates between courses and used my fancy scraper to wipe crumbs from the crisp white tablecloths.

I was barely 15 years old, but somehow, I got hired. My first real job, and I loved it! My job was to clear dirty dishes and reset tables for the next guests. I also helped the servers by carrying food trays, clearing the table between courses and running errands. There were also cleaning duties, restocking shelves and taking out the garbage. I have great memories of the servers and managers and cooks and dishwashers. That restaurant was a special place for me.

I learned one of my best and earliest leadership lessons in that restaurant. Without fail, every weekend was super busy. We had a long list of reservations, and it seemed this was the place to be and be seen. We were swamped on those nights With all the customers and tightly scheduled reservations. All of the servers, staff and managers struggled to keep up.

One particular night, I noticed that I had an extra helper bussing the tables. I saw the man helping me was wearing a tie and rolled the sleeves up on his fancy dress shirt. I was amazed! The person working beside me was the general manager of the hotel. The big boss came down to help me clean the tables. I couldn’t believe it.

I learned that day, right there, that no matter what your job title or position, you are never too important to roll your sleeves up and work hard.

That simple act of leadership was profound for me at an early age. From that day, I became a student of leadership. A fire burned inside me to learn about leadership and become a great leader one day. My general manager’s actions inspired me.

This leadership lesson is just one of many reasons why the value of working hard is so important to me.

My personal list of values:
1. Be on time and work hard.
2. Be honest and transparent.
3. Be direct but approachable.
4. Make decisions you can be proud of.
5. Be frugal, it pays off.
6. Always remember who you serve.
7. Know when to lead and when to follow.
8. Always mentor someone and be mentored.
9. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.
10. Do your part to help others.