Yo Leaders – You Ain’t All That and a Bag of Chips

I have always enjoyed the saying, “You ain’t all that and a bag of chips” because it is so descriptive of many of the situations that I have seen in business and life.

A fitting example of this happened just a couple of weeks ago when I had the opportunity to connect with a few colleagues from a past company. As we were reminiscing about the good times and some of the people we knew, I asked about one individual and the response surprised me, and then again, it didn’t.

One of them rolled their eyes. The other hesitated. And then both looked at each other and said together something that most of us understand unfortunately oh so well…

He changed.

They went on to say that while this individual used to be such a fun, gregarious guy to be around, when he was promoted into a new position, his whole demeanor changed – as if he was better than everyone else. He had made it and you had not. And worse, he belittled everyone else “beneath” him.

Unfortunately, we’ve all seen it. Whether it be a promotion at work, acceptance into a fraternity, sorority, or selective club in college; or the making of the team in high school or grade school, some people just change. And many times, not for the good.

I have seen it too and this is one of the big reasons why I emphasized empathy so strongly when I spoke to my new field leaders as they began their responsibilities in leading teams. Yes, they were among the best and had earned the right and incredible responsibility to lead; however, it didn’t mean they were better than anyone else in the organization.

In the big scheme of things, they weren’t all that and a bag of chips. Rather, they simply played a different role. Definitely an important role, but nevertheless, a role. And my ask of them was to never forget from whence they came. To remember what is was like for them when their role was that of a sales specialist.

To remember the anxiety of their field sessions with their leader or manager.

To remember how they as sales specialists often wondered why decisions were being made strategically within the company and how they as sales specialists felt when leadership was honest and upfront with them by telling them why the organization was doing certain things – even when the news may be perceived as less than positive.

To remember how important it was when their leaders took a true interest in them as an individual rather than just what they could do for the organization.

To remember how they felt when a manager spoke down to them as opposed to how a leader spoke with them.

For it is not the position who defines the you, but rather you who defines the position.

While I wasn’t always successful, I tried to lead as a servant leader probably because I was blessed with having great leaders to work for who impressed upon me the fact that, if ever given the chance, I too was not all that and a bag of chips and I needed my people WAY more than they needed me.

I believe that it is this servant leadership mentality that endears certain leaders to their teams. That serves as the foundation of a culture that people want to be a part of and one that ultimately leads to enduring success for the individual, the team, the organization, and yes, the leader.

Last night driving home from an enjoyable dinner with my brother and friends, I was in the mood for a little country music. I found my favorite XM Country channel and caught the tail end of Tim McGraw’s, “Humble and Kind”.

His words resonated with me as I contemplated writing this blog.

“Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you

When you get where you’re goin’

Don’t forget

Turn back around

Help the next one in line

Always stay humble and kind”

And that my friends, pretty much sums up the servant leader. The leader people want to follow. And that is the greatest compliment a leader can earn.

For indeed, whether you are or want to become a leader in the future, you really ain’t all that and a bag of chips.

Nicely said Tim.

Have a safe, successful, and in the case of leaders, humble week everyone!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *