Why We All Long To Be Like Mister Rogers

By Beth Caron

It’s Throwback Thursday on the Great Clips Franchise blog—time to revisit Fred Rogers and his way of showing leadership through everyday acts of kindness

I can’t wait to see this summer’s surprise movie hit—“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Who would have thought millions of people would pay money to spend a summer evening inside a movie theater watching a documentary about the iconic children’s television show host, Fred Rogers? From what I hear, the movie is well worth it. (Have you seen it? Make a comment below and let us know what you thought.)

MORE: Four Leadership Lessons From Mister Rogers

There are several reasons Fred Rogers popped into my mind recently. Just the other day I got a pang in my heart when my daughter sat mesmerized watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on the PBS Kids channel. It reminded me how relevant and everlasting his messages are. 

Another Mister Rogers-moment was an article I came across that talked about why he stood out to so many: He was a regular person who became a moral leader—just an everyday guy who had an uncanny ability to reach both children and adults with his reflections about everyday events and common feelings. And he set a standard that is actually quite easy to replicate: It’s the simple things we do that connect us to each other.

And, then, I heard this story, which brought it all home—literally home, to the Great Clips home office.

Among the many services Great Clips provides franchisees is a hotline that franchisees and salon employees can call if they have an urgent situation they feel can’t be addressed through normal channels.

It’s rare that someone uses it, but recently, someone did call in. A few days later, the caller posted this note of appreciation to an internal website for salon teams:

“I just want to say that I am so impressed with the president of our company. We had to use the crisis hotline this evening and he personally spoke with one of my stylists. This leaves me in awe … that this company cares about its stylists and environment we work in. I feel that this just validates how relevant each and everyone in this company is. He expressed concern and thanked us for using the hotline. Love this GREAT family we are a part of.”

The person who answered the phone was Great Clips president Rob Goggins, who picked up the call coming into the hotline, not knowing what he would hear on the other end of that call. He talked through the issue with the caller, expressed his concern, and together, they came up with a solution. So simple, so powerful.

It would be easy to say, in that moment, Rob showed extraordinary moral leadership. But he would be the first to say that everyone involved showed equal courage and poise. Perhaps the real source of moral leadership in this situation was the establishment of the hotline by the Great Clips franchisee support team who found a simple solution to connect people when they most need support.

My admiration goes to everyone involved: to the Great Clips salon leader who realized she needed assistance to solve a problem; to Rob for having the composure to lend an ear and a helping hand; and, to Mister Rogers for pointing us all in the right direction.

“But how do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can do to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own—by treating our neighbors at least as well as we treat ourselves and allowing that to inform everything that we produce.”  —Fred Rogers, 1999

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