Updated: Dec 28, 2020
While building a large grocery store, I witnessed a true leader. It was in the last weeks of construction with a deadline coming up quickly. We were working 12-hour days, 6 days a week. One day I saw the CEO of the company come on the project. His face was heavy and showed an unpleasant mood. I asked him if he was having a bad day. He looked at me with surprise and said, “No, why would you ask that question?” I told him he had a sour look on his face.
He then asked if I could do him a favor. “Yes, what do you need?” I replied. He asked me to gather every worker on the job site to meet in the bakery in 10 minutes. I reminded him we had well over a hundred people on site from many different companies. He said he understood, but please proceed. I did as he asked. When everyone was gathered, I witnessed an amazing leader. He said, “I understand some of you have the impression I am upset and unhappy. I have been told I have been walking around with a sour disposition.” This is when I saw a true leader. He said, “I am sorry for my miscommunication. I am not upset at all, but I am pleased with your progress please accept my apology for my behavior.” He then asked the bakery to keep an endless supply of treats as well as the soft drink vendor to make available his fountain for free drinks for the remainder of the project.
Later that day I asked him why he apologized? He did not yell or scold anyone! He then taught me a priceless lesson. He said, “We communicate as much with our expressions as we do with our words.” He continued, “My thoughts and expression was about issues far from this project, they weren’t for anyone here.” He then apologized to me again and said he would do better.
I have thought about that experience through the years. How am I communicating with those around me? Am I expressing a burden upon my family or friends that is not meant for them?
I keep reminding myself to show appreciation to those I am surrounded by. Love to my friends and family. Then let the heavy face show when I am on my knees at night.