Don’t forget the small things

Be faithful in the small things because it is in them that your strength lies. – Mother Teresa
In the final pages of his great epic “The Lord of the Rings,” J.R.R. Tolkien writes of his heroes, Sam and Frodo, and their desperate quest to reach the cursed Mount Doom to cast the ring of power, a device that held much of the dark lord Sauron’s power, into the fire and destroy it. As they came closer to the mountain, their situation grew more desperate.
They were wasting away physically, Frodo’s spirit was failing, and their quest seemed hopeless. In a key moment, Sam attempts to encourage Frodo by asking him if he remembers the taste of strawberries and cream, the sound of water, the beauties of spring in their far-off home, the Shire. 
The lesson here is as powerful as it is simple - we must not forget the small and meaningful things in life that we often take for granted. In life, we are so busy and the “tyranny of the urgent” often crowds out what’s truly important.
In leadership, remembering the small things is also a necessity. The small things that leaders do is what makes them great leaders. So, let’s examine some of the small things that yield great returns. 
Mind your manners
It should go without saying, but I’m saying it, leaders must mind their manners. Common courtesies of respect matter. It may seem like a small thing to you but people see, hear, and notice when you use your manners and in particular when you don’t.  
Give credit, take the blame
Little things like giving credit or praising the work of others is one of the most honorable things you can do as a leader. Take responsibility when things go wrong, give credit to others when things go well.
Listen more, talk less
You will be more effective as a leader when you understand the value of listening more than speaking. Often, it’s not what you have to say that’s so important, but what you need to hear that will make you a better leader. 
Put your phone away
It will be hard for you to be in the moment and for your people to believe that you matter to them if you are constantly toggling between them and your phone. This is not just a common courtesy, it’s a matter of respect.
Walk humbly
Never allow yourself to get so proud and “successful” that you forget what the struggle was like when you started out and what the struggle is like for those following your footsteps. You can be a great resource and help to others but not if you are haughty or prideful.
Remain teachable
John Wooden said it well, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” This is timeless advice. You will never know it all, so never stop learning.
Laugh at yourself
Life’s too short to be taken so seriously. Learn how to laugh at yourself. You’ll feel better and it will endear you to those already laughing at you.
Be reliable
Nothing will frustrate the people you lead more than not being reliable. If your people are unsure about you as a leader they will be unsure about where you are leading them.
Keep your word
It’s a simple rule of leadership. If your people can’t trust you they won’t follow you.
Be Generous
Leaders lead by example - be generous with your time, your talents, and your treasure. Every day strive to make the world a better place because you are in it.
Final Thoughts
“Character demonstrates itself in trifles,” said Louise Imogen Guiney, and while it might seem small to you, the small things add up and your leadership depends on it. Don’t forget the small things.
©2022 Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson is a certified leadership speaker, trainer, and coach. Learn more

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


Breaking News Alerts

To sign up for breaking news email alerts, Click on the email address below and put "email alerts" in the subject line:

Comment Here