Leadership lessons from a train
As usual, the first off-peak evening train from London to York on Friday was jam-packed. Throughout the train there were scatterings of people standing, first stop York. No tannoy messages about where the empty seats might be, no trolley service because of the crowding.
The most frequent person to traverse the length of the train was the contract cleaner collecting rubbish. He was the one who spotted people standing near empty but reserved seats. Seats that wouldn't be needed until late in the long distance journey. He swiftly shepherded a couple of grateful standees into a seat.
Afterwards I reflect that I could illustrate a whole workshop on leadership, based on examples from train journeys: the differences between management and leadership, identifying and encouraging people so that they have enough autonomy to improve the things they notice around them.
That rubbish collecting guy was the one with real leadership potential, I reckon.