In this photo, we see my ex-Commanding Officer cleaning a jet (specifically, the fins of a sidewinder heat-seeking missile) alongside one of the squadron's most junior pilots. Look at the smiles.
In his bestselling book ‘Leadership Strategy and Tactics', Jocko Willink describes the powerful effect of seeing a highly decorated and well respected commander emptying his own trash and sweeping the communal floor. “It was the best platoon I was ever a part of”.
The All Blacks rugby team are commonly described as the most successful sporting team in world history. After each match, the senior players are the first to pick up brooms and start sweeping the changing rooms, ensuring they leave the area in the same or better condition than when they arrived.
When leaders perform tasks that are traditionally thought of as 'beneath them' it has a powerful and positive effect on the team, and demonstrates the humility required for those seeking constant self-improvement.
If you have experienced this yourself, please share the story with us!