The awesome power of role modeling

Meet Esita. She is a born-and-bred Fijian who works as the manager of a resort, on the island of Taveuni, in her home country. Together with her staff of 14, she creates amazing experiences for her guests. The kindness, the discretion, the attention to detail and the professionalism of the staff would put most 5-start establishments to shame. I was struck by the consistency of their superior service and I was curious about how Esita had built such an esprit-de-corps, such dedication, such service orientation.

One early morning I struck up a conversation with her in my quest to understand. Esita readily shared the three principles she uses when she recruits and manages her staff. They are deceptively simple:

1: Don’t steal

2: Be candid and raise issues

3: Listen to my guidance.

Those seem like good principles, but I doubt if Esita will ever achieve success writing a management book based on these three principles. (I did not ask permission so share them. Anyone is free to adopt them). It is clearly not here the secret to success lies – unless it is in a very refined reading of the principles.

I pressed Esita: “There’s got to be more”. What is the secret, Esita? Through our exchange, it became clear that Esita’s key tool is role modeling. Through her own behavior, she conveys vision, she inspires and she builds skills.

I never saw a vision statement or a mission statement while I visited the resort. I never saw a poster articulating “our core values”. I just observed Esita’s gentle, quiet demeanor and enjoyed the rejuvenating atmosphere of the place.

Esita will never write that book. But most of us can learn from her example.

Tor regularly writes articles on his LinkedIn profile. You can visit his profile and follow him to receive the latest content and leave comments.