Ms. A contacted me about doing a team building event. Once all the preliminary decisions were made she turned it over to Ms. B, her assistant. Ms. B and I worked out most of the arrangements and we were underway except for a few details to be worked out as the event approached.
With a few of the minor details left I received a call from Ms. A. She had been asked by her assistant to call me and inform me of a few things. Ms. A and I had some other business to address and so she would make one call instead of Ms. A and Ms. B both having to call.
As we talked she informed me of the items Ms. B had asked her to communicate to. Each item brought a question from me. Each time Ms. A was unable to answer. After a couple questions, Ms. A would remark, “I should have been paying more attention.” This became her answer for about 5 of my questions. She finally said she would talk again to her assistant and pay more attention; get the answers and call me back.
You might think the point is that great leaders pay attention when they are talking with someone. This is true, but the real point is that great leaders recognize when they don’t have the answers, they don’t make excuses, but they do what they have to and get the information. In this case Ms. A had to apologize to her assistant, Ms. B, for not paying attention, causing a little more discussion and another phone call.
Great leaders pay attention, but they also fearlessly admit when they are wrong and make corrections.
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