Putting the pieces back together… 2 Leadership lessons from my uncle Walter.

Putting the pieces back together… 2 leadership lessons from my uncle Walter.

One of our family traditions is playing golf each year with our family on the 4th of July. My brothers and I have been playing with my uncles for over 25 years and always look forward to spending time with each of them. My uncle Walter recently passed away to join my grandmother in heaven and it reminded me of a leadership lesson he taught us on the golf course.

It was several years ago when my son (Logan), my brother (Joe), and his sons (Josh and Tyler) were playing golf with our uncles, Floyd, Dave, and Walter and some of our cousins. We were divided into different groups and my uncles were in the group just ahead of us. We were all having a fun day chasing the little white ball over the course and having great conversation about things in life. At the time, our sons were very novice golfers learning to play, but they enjoyed playing golf with us. We even let them drive the cart which they enjoyed even more.golf

We were around the turn finishing our last few holes when my son started driving our cart up to the next hole where my uncles golf cart was parked.  As we were pulling up behind them to watch them tee off, my son’s foot slipped off the brake and hit the gas and we crashed right into the back of my uncles golf cart. Thankfully no one was hurt, but my uncle Walter had been walking earlier with a pull cart (this is a golf back holder with wheels so you don’t have to carry your golf bag while playing) and had decided to get in the cart with uncle Dave and tied his pull cart with golf back on the back of the golf cart. When we crashed into their cart, it literally “shattered” uncle Walter’s pull cart wheels which were made of plastic. I felt so bad for my son since it was an accident, and felt terrible for my uncle Walter’s golf pull cart. I can see him now as he got out of the cart and started picking up each little shattered piece saying “it’s okay Logan, I think I can glue it back together”. This is how my uncle Walter was… kind and compassionate even when I knew there was absolutely no way to put these pieces back together. However, we knew that we could do the right thing and go buy a new pull cart and start over which is exactly what we did right after we finished our round of golf. We miss my uncle but appreciate the leadership lessons he shared with us.

So what are the leadership lessons?

  1. Take ownership when accidents happen. Sometimes you find yourself in a position in which you or your team made a mistake. This is okay because it’s how we learn. The lesson I learned is that when you have a novice driver in a golf cart, make sure to brake way before the cart in front instead of pulling right up behind them before you brake. I take as much ownership and responsibility for the accident as my son, because I let him drive and guided him along the way.
  2. Be Compassionate in business and in your personal life. Sometimes things can get damaged, or we make mistakes by something we did or our team did which makes it very difficult to put the pieces back together. This includes damaged relationships. Be mindful of others and try to look from the other persons view. It may mean starting over, like when we had to replace the broken pull cart with a new one.

Call to action: Have you recently made a mistake, or been frustrated by a situation or person at work or in your personal life. Maybe it’s time to pick up the pieces and put it back together, or just start over and possibly look through a different lens. You’ll be glad you did.

This has been “A Relocation Minute” on “picking up the pieces” with Bruce Waller, for more information on relocation resources, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com. Follow me on Twitter too!

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