Small Kindnesses & Leadership Development

5 May

Imagine a young boy 35 years ago in the eighth grade from a blue-collar family.  His dad, a factory worker, taught him to read by reading comic books to him when he was very young. His teacher gives him a copy of Time magazine and tells him to read it cover-to-cover and look up every word he didn’t understand. He followed the teacher’s advice for the next 20 years. Even later, as a successful professional, he realizes this small kindness opened new horizons to him and changed his life.

This story was shared in an organizational interview. Asking people to tell their story occasionally produces such fascinating outcomes. A theme emerges in many of the stories. These small kindnesses often happen in a time of emotional turmoil. Such events are crucibles and force us to re-examine our lives and take actions to improve ourselves. They also may improve our perceptions of the relative value of other people.

In these events, the person often took the initiative to ask for help. Many people never realize that if you ask for help almost everyone will assist. This is a common element in the lives of successful people. People are really not self-made, but develop with the assistance of others.  Food for thought

For a more in-depth look at this issue go to the Corridor Business Journal

Listen to an interview with John about Beyond Luck.

One Response to “Small Kindnesses & Leadership Development”


  1. Optimism #4: The Small Kindness vs. the Micro-Insult « Managers Into Leaders - July 20, 2010

    […] we cruise through our lives, occasional small kindnesses and micro-insults […]

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