I was standing in line waiting to order a cup of coffee at a Starbucks, located in a large conference hotel.  I was in line behind the hotel security guard who was on break.  She turned to me and said, “Please, jump in front of me.  You are one of our guests.”  We danced back and forth with “No, you are on break” “But please you are a guest” “That’s very kind of you to offer but I am great holding the end of the line position proudly.” 

After the gracious ‘you go first’ dance, we started a conversation with me asking her how she liked her job and she asked me about my experience at the hotel.  She loved her job and I loved the hotel.

After I received my coffee order, the security guard approached me and said, “I am happy to hear that you have enjoyed your stay with us.  It has been a pleasure speaking with you.  Here is my card, if you have any issues feel free to give me a call on my cell.  Oh, and the next time you are in line for coffee, here is a coupon for a free cup on me.” 

I was amazed!  Not at the good fortune of getting a free cup of coffee, but at the fact that the security guard at the hotel had so much ownership in the guest experience.  She took an interest in guests and went out of her way to make them feel welcome.  Bonus – she had the authority to give away free coffee cards when she felt the need. 

Great leaders treat everyone on their staff with dignity and respect.  They make every team member know that they have an important role in the guest’s experience.  Best of all, they give the resources and authority to either fix a problem on the spot or bring an extra smile to a guest’s experience.  Comp coffee cards for everyone!