Frances Hesselbein, who led the Girls Scouts of the USA from 1976 to 1990, was named the “Best Nonprofit Manager in America” by Fortune magazine and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her service as “a pioneer for women volunteerism, diversity, and opportunity.”
But what makes her truly remarkable as a leader isn’t that so many people think of her as an outstanding leader. What’s exceptional is the way she gets others to think of themselves as leaders.
She tells a story about a staff member who understood what it meant to be a leader, no matter where you find yourself in an organization.
The staff member spoke up at a meeting, after Hesselbein had asked everyone to introduce themselves:
“My name is Troy. I work in the mail room, and I like to think of myself as the heart of the organization. Everything that comes into the organization comes through me. Everything that goes out of the organization goes through me. I am the heart of the organization!”
Troy’s heart brought new insight about the importance of every person. Hesselbein never forgot Troy or that moment.
Can you say the same?
— Adapted from “Frances Hesselbein: To Serve is To Live,” Michael McKinney, Leading Blog.