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Creating Successful Leaders

Lessons from the Airport

I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately–standing in long lines at security, enduring cramped flights and noisy neighbors, hoping my bags make it to my destination unruffled. It is easy to adopt a negative attitude while flying, but I’ve come to realize it’s not worth it and it only brings other people down.  When it comes to air travel, we’re all in this together.

Sounds kind of like office life, right?

A few bad apples can hamper an entire team or set a negative tone in the office. I encourage you to take the lessons learned from the airport and apply them to your daily office life. It’s amazing what being in close quarters with several hundred strangers can teach us!

  1. Be patient

The airplane will arrive when it does, the maintenance crew will change that broken light bulb when it can, and you’ll get to your destination as soon as possible. It doesn’t help to gripe or be pushy. Wait your turn, make pleasant small talk with your neighbors, and focus on the amazing fact that you can fly from point A to point B in a matter of hours. Flying is still a luxury for many people and (as you shuffle off to business meetings or on little trips), it’s easy to lose sight of that.

  1. Work together

Instead of bee-lining it to your seat, shoving your bag into the overhead compartment, and turning on your music as you ignore others, offer to help. Maybe someone needs an extra hand with their luggage or maybe a mother needs help situating her child. If we all work together (instead of focusing just on ourselves and our immediate needs), things will go much smoother and we can all enjoy the ride.

  1. Be courteous

For some reason, air travel can turn some of us into monsters. We might shove others aside as we jostle for a place in line or we might fight for that last place for our bag in the overhead compartment. Or, we might do something even more common: completely ignore our neighbors for the duration of the flight. I know I’m guilty of it. It’s easy to just wrap ourselves in our personal cocoons and not exchange any pleasantries with our neighbors, but think of everything you might be missing! What if the person sitting next to you is your next big account? Or someone who can help you design that website you’ve always been meaning to build. Make an effort to initiate some small talk and see where things lead.

Wishing you a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year,

Margaret Signature

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