Successful Leaders Return Their Carts

I was scrolling through LinkedIn recently and came across this image.

The image stuck with me—it says so much about what it takes to be a successful leader. Successful people go the extra yard. They finish the job. And they don’t cut corners. 

Leaving the cart in the parking lot is lazy, rude, and disrespectful. A person who leaves the cart in the middle of the parking lot doesn’t care about the impact on others. They put themselves first and ignore the consequences. They make decisions based on their current situation without regard for the future. These are not the behaviors of a leader.

Successful leaders know the little things are actually big things. Saying hi to your employees and asking them about their day is a little thing that has big impact. Giving team members autonomy and empowering them to make decisions is a little thing that makes a big impact. Giving credit where credit is due is a little thing that means the world to someone. Successful leaders say thank you and they listen. They say we, not I. Those are all little things, but it’s the little things that add up to success.

Successful leaders strive to leave the world a better place. They want to bring the best out of others and help make everyone successful. They give of themselves even when there’s no possible personal gain. They build personal and professional networks without any personal agenda. They ask how they can help and then follow through with action. Successful leaders recognize that when you hold power, you also share responsibility to make a positive impact.

Successful leaders don’t inconvenience anyone else. They take responsibility and don’t ask anyone else to do something they wouldn’t do and they don’t leave behind a mess for others to clean up. They lead by example. They give their all and expect everyone around them to work with the same sense of purpose and urgency.

Successful leaders know anything worth doing is worth doing well and they do the right thing when no one is watching.

At the heart of it all, it’s about character and integrity.

Successful people are always looking for ways to help others. Unsuccessful people always ask “what’s in it for me?”

Be the kind of person who doesn’t think twice about returning the cart to the cart corral. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.