And what do you get?
"Take care of associates and they'll take care of your customers." These famous words were uttered by none other than John Willard Marriott, the man who turned a root beer stand into a world-famous chain of luxury hotels. In simpler terms, what Mr Marriott meant was that if you care for your colleagues, your business will be taken care of.
If this sounds like sentimental garbage to you, you have the choice to stop reading. But I truly believe in giving a damn about the people I work with, be it colleagues, suppliers, partners or clients. I guess I can credit this to my amazing parents, who gave me (I’m their eldest son) and my two younger siblings their undivided and unequivocal affection. They were the first “leaders” I ever remember looking up to. But even at that young age, I knew they were onto something. And that something has fuelled me all these years.
They showed me that no matter what, you should commit to the people you are supposed to provide for and to the causes you believe in. There is no such thing as partial care – no parent would starve one child to feed the other. The same goes for the workplace. There simply is no room for segregation or exclusivity. Everyone should be all in.
Their actions also taught me how to be content. This is in no way a form of complacency, but rather a form of gratefulness for what we have. My family was uprooted a few times when I was younger. For some reason, life had a knack of throwing curveballs at my dad, who was our sole breadwinner. His business ventures brought us to literally every corner of the country. Through the thick and thin (mostly thick), we didn’t have that many things to be grateful for. It was tough for all of us, but it made us appreciate what we had. And I don’t ever remember any one of us complaining much about anything.
Being cared for was the first leadership lesson I ever had. It’s probably the only one I’ll ever need.
So, be a carer. Care to nurture your people. Tend to your team as if it’s a garden. Help them grow to their greatest potential. Rain or shine, that truly is the only way forward.