Leadership-isnt-barkingOs Hillman tells the story of a rider on horseback, who many years ago, came across a squad of soldiers who were trying to move a heavy piece of timber.

A corporal stood by, giving lordly orders to “Heave.”

But the piece of timber was too heavy for the squad.

“Why don’t you help them?” asked the quiet man on the horse, addressing the important corporal.

“Me?  Why, I’m a corporal sir!”

Dismounting, the stranger carefully took his place with the soldiers.

“Now, all together boys – heave!” he said.  And the big piece of timber slid into place.

The stranger mounted his horse and addressed the corporal.  “The next time you have a piece of timber for your men to handle, corporal, send for your commander-in-chief.”

The horseman was George Washington, the first American President.

I love this story as it reminds me that leadership isn’t barking orders at your staff, it’s helping them with the heavy lifting.

You don’t engage your staff by staying aloof from your people, you do it by getting amongst them.

And respect isn’t earned by staying on your horse, but from getting down, rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

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