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Competence and Character

If you could only choose one, which would you prefer – the person who has perfect manners, who is courteous and respectful, but inept or the person who abrasive, short, and borderline disrespectful but is the best in the field? That is a tough call, huh. Many of us have been put in a situation where those were our options. How do we manage?

What happens when we find ourselves in the same scenario where we are the person who falls into one of the two categories? Are we requiring those around us to have to choose between the two options? It need not be that way. It is possible to be skilled and caring; to be a competent person of character.

The reality is that being gifted at anything becomes irrelevant if we offend all the people who could benefit from our gift. Some people have a ‘sandpaper’ personality and they create so much friction and conflict that others feel it is close to impossible to work effectively with them. Then, there is the group who seems to make everything better by their presence. Successful people learn to build bridges, not barriers.

Some time ago, I decided to seek to form airport relationships with the people in my life. “What’s an airport relationship?” one might ask. Let me explain. Earlier in my career, I was blessed to travel quite a bit. Being a people watcher, I observed that, on many occasions, when a person was getting ready to part with their loved ones at the airport, there were often hugs or tears. A family member would walk as far as security would allow, escorting the departing person. Once the individual boarded the plane, the family member, still in the airport, would watch the plane as it taxied down the runway. They would watch through the windows until the plane was out of sight.

The other case involved a family member returning from a trip. The receiving family would wait for the person to exit the plane. They anxiously watched for the first glimpse of their loved one. As soon as they appeared, there was laughter, smiles, hugs and kisses. There was so much joy upon seeing the person return. An airport relationship is one in which people are sad to see you leave and happy to see you return.

If you are a person of competence and character, you matter to the people in your life. You add value. Form airport relationships with the people in your life so that they love to see you come and hate to be away from you.

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Gainesville, FL 32606

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