If you missed my leadership newsletter last Sunday, it’s because I was on vacation with my wife, our adult children, and our granddaughter in Jamaica.  A day after we returned to Maryland, I attended a two-day leadership conference sponsored by the Institute for Transformational Leadership Network(ITLN), for which I sit on the board.

My thoughts today tied together those two experiences. I realized that leadership lessons are available to us almost all the time, as long as we keep our eyes and ears open.

One of my most significant takeaways from the vacation was the level of courtesy, professionalism, and helpfulness exhibited by every single team member working at the resort where we stayed.  Before we left, I vowed to my wife that I would communicate my impressions to a manager there.

And the day before we were to leave, I overheard a young manager saying into his phone, “People are complaining that we’re not getting luggage to their rooms quickly enough.  How do we solve this issue? “

That’s all he said. I was impressed with his approach. He didn’t engage in finger-pointing. He didn’t blame any particular team members. He didn’t raise his voice and get angry.

Instead, he focused on solving a problem that had come to his attention.

Later that day, I approached this young leader and articulated my admiration for his approach to what was transpiring.  After he thanked me for my feedback, he explained to me that his leadership attitude is always focused on solutions instead of problems.

Of course, this reminded me of the old leadership cliché which I use many times during my career, “Don’t bring me a problem, bring me a solution.”

As this leader and I talked, he highlighted several points.  The manager with whom I conversed as we departed from the resort made similar points. This what they communicated to me:

-They emphasize a long and meaningful onboarding process for all employees

-They manage by walking around, noticing how employees are interacting with customers every day

-They teach their employees that nonverbal communication with customers, including tone of voice and facial expressions, are as important as the words they say

-They teach employees to own customer problems that come to their attention and not assume another team member will take care of it

-They encourage all employees to adopt a “how can I help you” attitude towards every customer every day

-They communicate success stories to all employees as frequently as they can; In fact, the manager with whom I spoke gave me her email address so that I could write an email when I got home that she would share with her team

-They promote from within whenever possible rather than assuming an outside person would be ideal for a position

-They ask employees to put themselves in the shoes of their guests whenever guests express a concern

-They encourage employees on the front lines to make suggestions about how processes and systems can be improved

-They ask all employees to touch their hearts after interacting with guests as a sign of gratitude and respect

I picked up all these leadership lessons while I was on vacation.

How can you be mindful of leadership lessons to be learned when you are away from your office?

Pay attention. 😊