Potential Leaders All Over.
There are hidden gems all around us. I see this everyday. The interesting thing is that many of them are doing very simple work and do not fit the mold. They are not over the top educated. They are far from perfect.
On the other side of the coin, they care about their people and their craft like no other. They are not doing a particular job solely based on compensation or recognition. They do not just tell you what you want to hear so that they can take the next step on the ladder.
Recently I started another part time job within the same organization to switch things up during a slow time of year. Over the last two weeks I have been trying for another low level position. One of my new colleagues who had much experience in the role was working with me in the beginning but also ended up leading me through the training later in the week.
At first I thought he was going to complain all the time, never follow protocol and just be a difficult colleague. What I learned after working with this colleague for a couple shifts was that he came off this way because he overly cared about the clients that he was served. At no point did he want to deliver a poor product, experience or service. He was very particular about how he prepared the product while keeping the customer in mind. He wanted to prepare the product as awesome as he would for himself, as for the customer. He went out of his way to deliver on that experience. This sometimes meant bending the rules slightly. This also made is difficult from time to time when working with others that did not care.
The thing that really stood out about this individual is that he took extra time to work with me, educate me both in the process and explain why he did each thing he did. He explained the little nuances very clearly and why they were in the best interest of the customer. Bear in mind this is a position that pays just above minimum wage where most people really do not give a shit about the product because they are making so little for their time.
This same young man is in his early early 20′s, covered in tattoos, does not look overly professional and might give off the initial impression that he is rough around the edges. Although my interactions with him were quite the opposite of the initial impression. If an older, experienced professional were to take this young man under his wing, he could really thrive as a leader.
Do me a favor and throw the thought of the initial impression right out the window. Learn what a person is all about, learn who they are, learn about their character. They could be a solid professional inside that intense exterior, give them the time of day, support them and you might be surprised what happens.