Minneapolis, May 11, 2018

Leadership Authenticity

I was noodling around, trying to come up with a unifying theme for this post on leadership when I decided to Google “leadership” for inspiration. Google’s response?

 

“About 852,000,000 results (0.82 seconds)”

 

Okay, so I made my search more specific: “quotes about leadership qualities.” Up popped this from Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States.

 

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

 

Perfect. President Eisenhower’s thought ties together the various aspects of leadership that I wanted to write about. He didn’t mention walk-in hair salons or service industries, but his quote captures the essence of Great Clips’ corporate values: Integrity and authenticity. In an era when those qualities sometimes seem elusive on the national level, it’s important to remember that every person who embodies them—no matter how seemingly inconsequential the circumstances—contributes something valuable to the fabric of American life.

 

Prehistoric leadership styles

 

I started thinking about this while reading a column by Stephanie Meyers on Inc.com about the ideas of leadership expert Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, and Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

 

Sinek says that great leaders inspire trust by being authentic and by creating what he calls a “circle of safety.” He developed this idea while studying population groups from a long time ago—a very long time ago, namely the Paleolithic era! Apparently Homo sapiens were very good at working together, and more important, looking after one another. (Granted, the stakes were higher back then. Most days, their very survival was on the line.)

 

Who knew that early human behavior could provide clues to successful organizations today—companies in which employees feel safe, cared for, and supported, and where the circle of safety encompasses everybody? In a poorly run organization, the circle of safety may only protect the top tier of leadership.

 

Leaders who care about their teams—who offer them opportunities to learn and grow, and who focus on providing both physically and emotionally safe work environments—will have happier, more productive employees as well as happier, more loyal customers. This is a page right out of the playbook of the most successful Great Clips franchisees, as well as a standard the corporate office strongly encourages. 

 

Changing the tone of the conversation

 

In a recent conversation, a relatively new Great Clips franchisee in Alberta, Canada, Yasir Saeed, who is opening his second salon in a couple of weeks, reinforced this strong belief in creating a safe, positive relationship with his employees.

 

“I try to talk to my employees not like I’m their boss,” he says, “but like I’m there to support them, and it changes the tone of communication. They trust me. That makes them happy, and when they’re happy, the customers are happy.”

 

Yasir talked about how important it is to pay attention to every employee as an individual, and to accommodate their personal lives with flexible work schedules, as much as possible.

 

“Everyone has their own story. I know what’s most important to them—their families, and that’s how it should be—so I want them to make sure their work supports that, providing them opportunities that will make their lives better.”

 

Which brings me to the second inspirational quote I found regarding leadership, this one from the sixth U.S. president, John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

 

Clearly, Yasir is leader after J.Q. Adams’s own heart.

 

Are you ready to use your leadership skills by investing in a franchise business? Give me a call. I’d love to talk with you.

 

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