Reaching the pinnacle of leadership with one potato.

Alternate title: The Potato of Love

Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay

What can you do with a potato? Lots! French fries (chips, if you prefer), potato salad, wedges, casserole, curry puffs, creamy mash, and a chicken curry is never complete with its potato. But never did I expect to see something beautiful demonstrated with potatoes; to be exact — a boy and his single potato.

I have been helping out with the operations of a food bank since the beginning of what we casually refer to as MCO2.0. It’s a lock-down due to the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases which saw some businesses close — some for good. Many people lost their livelihood and are living in uncertainties. Food banks were setup so that people can help other people. Either you come to give some food or rations, or you come to take what you need for the day. As a result, I volunteered to help with one.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Since we started, we have seen different types of visitors. Many come to take what they need for a day or two. Thankfully, these are the majority. Then there are the ones who are very selective and take what is higher value. And there are a couple who have swept the shelves clean. (We have it all on CCTV so we know who they are.) Again, thankfully, there are only a few. This is something all food bank operators have to accept.

What is the most encouraging is seeing people in the community come to donate food for others. They don’t do it for glamour, or any physical rewards. No photos with beneficiaries; gifting is done quietly and respectfully.

The benevolent child

I wish I was there when the boy came to the food bank. My sister was there and related this story. The boy looks like he is about 9 or 10-years old. He came alone, walked to the shelves and left one potato. He turned and walked away. My sister saw this and thought he was so cute. She had bought some buns just before that. She thanked him and gave him 3 buns.

He thanked my sister, politely accepted the buns and continued on his way. After a couple of steps, he stopped and turned around. This boy walked back to the food bank shelves and gave away two of the buns.

I mean, where are his parents? I want to shake their hands and congratulate them!

Lessons for a leader

It’s so obvious that compassion leads the way in this leader. His one potato may not mean much to many, but he gave from his own initiative. He took action. Intention without action means zilch.

He was focused. He came with an objective and through his actions, he was true to his objective.

He also demonstrated one quality that is very important — his integrity of character. He could have taken some goodies from the food bank. Instead, he gave to stay true to his intention.

In John C. Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership, the highest level (the pinnacle) is when people follow you for who you are and what you represent. I believe this child is on his way there. I would love to meet him and follow his progress.

Integrity and Leadership

When my words and deeds match up, I am who I am no matter where I am or who I’m with — John C. Maxwell.

About the Author: Gina Phan is a consultant and trainer with Zinfinity Consulting. She currently conducts courses in workplace performance skills. Click here to contact her, follow her on Facebook or connect with her on Linkedin.

Read her other posts.

#leadership #servantleadership #compassion #focus #integrity #character #johncmaxwell #intention
#trainergina #ginaphan #gp

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