As a leader it is imperative that you invest in your people everyday. You’ve heard about going the extra mile, reaching above and beyond. If you want to be a person of influence, going the extra mile is exactly what investing in people is all about.
Let me give you a great example of that.
In 2003 on “Good Morning America,” Charlie Gibson was interviewing General Earl Hailston of the United States Marine Corps. General Hailson and his Marines were stationed a few miles outside of Iraq waiting to go to war.
Throughout the interview they discussed the morale of the troops, and the plan and purpose of the mission. Then at the end of the interview, Charlie asked an interesting question. He said, “General do you have any hobbies, anything that you like to do other than your career?” General Hailston replied, “I do, I love photography and particularly taking pictures of my men.” He continued, “I like to go out during the day and I take pictures of my men and then at night I email them with a short note to their moms back home.”
Intrigued, Charlie responded, “Really, would you mind sharing what you say?” General Hailston said, “no problem.” Then he opened the computer and read the last email he had sent.
This is what it said,
Dear Mrs. Johnson,
I thought you might enjoy seeing this picture of your son. He is doing great. I also wanted you to know that you did a wonderful job of raising him. You must be very proud. I can certainly tell you that I’m honored to serve with him in the U.S. Marines.
General Earl Hailston
Did you get goose bumps when you read that? I don’t believe that any where in the job description of a Marine General it says, “Make sure to send emails to worried mothers.” General Hailston, though, is an above and beyond leader, who knows the importance of investing in his people. Investing in people is outward thinking put into practical application. In the grand scheme of things, an email is a very small thing, but I’m sure it wasn’t if you ask Mrs. Johnson.