Being accessible

One of the greatest lessons I ever learned in business was from a man named Jack Ward. When I started selling hotels, I joined a firm called Hodges Ward. Jack Ward was, of course, one of the named partners.

If you have ever been in a sales organization, there are all types of brokers and staff. Some that are type A and hard charging and some are more type B and laid back. Among those types, someĀ are organized, some are scattered, some have thick skin, and some are overly sensitive. Leading that kind of group takes a special kind of personality and the gift of patience.

Jack Ward was all of that. He was the most kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and fair man I had ever known. You would go into his office with some problem or issue, and his desk was covered from corner to corner with things that he needed to do. Jack would do the one thing that meant the most to all of us: he would put down whatever he was doing and focus intently on you and what your issue was. He simply gave you his attention and listened with those kind eyes and understanding heart to what you needed at that time.

I know for a fact that Jack always had many things he needed to get done and many projects that required his attention, but the thing I remember most is how he was always accessible to us.

So, if you are leading a company or have people that report to you, remember that most issues can be resolved before they become problems by simply listening to your people and being available to them. A smart man once told me that the greatest ability a leader can have is availability. KT

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