[March 21, 2019] I began this series on “good habits” several years ago out of a desire to give simple advice to up-and-coming leaders.1 Picking good daily habits for leaders is easy because there are many to choose from. Today, I’ll be focusing on the usefulness of beginning your day with a hardy greeting.
“One of the most telling things about a person is how they say hello, handshakes.” – Miguel, American singer and songwriter
My dad used to tell me to begin my day with a hardy greeting and to treat everyone that way. To him, it was being a good Christian. To others, they would receive it as a sign of respect. Either way, a person giving a sincere hello (or welcome) is seen as approachable and open to people and new ideas; all characteristics of great leadership.
I was walking across the Penn State University campus several years ago but I’d had a poor start to my morning routine. I’d slept late (unusual for me), missed my morning workout, and was late to class. Being late is not part of my mental makeup so it put me in a bad mood. The young lady sitting next to me in class gave me a big hello and a wink. My day turned around right at that moment.
I don’t recommend leaders giving random “winks” as part of their hardy greetings but anything we do that reflects in a positive manner is good. For example a firm handshake, a big smile, a “hello” said with gusto, and a firm body stance are all read by the receiver as something that is good. It works.
Try an experiment. Spend a day giving hardy greetings. See how the day goes. Then spend another day just looking at the ground as you go through your normal routine. I won’t take a rocket scientist to see you feel better about yourself and others in the first case.
Being a great leader means giving a hardy greeting to those you meet.