What makes a great leader? In this article by Glen Gilmore about his observations of Ford Motor Company CEO, Alan Mulally, at a charity dinner, he delineates how Mr. Mulally has ‘lead by example’. In it, he lists the fourteen ‘lessons’ personified by Mr. Mulally as follows:
- Smile…genuinely smile
- Be interested in others
- Be passionate
- Make sure your customers have fun
- Be approachable
- Never lose the common touch
- Always take the customer’s call and complete the sale
- Never forget where you came from
- Make sure you have a great product and let people tell your story
- Invest in Social Media
- If you’re not good at something that’s important to your business, find someone who is and let them run with it
- Be gracious to your competitors – but don’t let up on the gas!
- Be authentic
- Do good
Of Mr. Gilmore’s list, six really translate directly to the characteristics of a great leader. Approachability offers accessibility and a sense of excitement and importance to those being addressed. Demonstrating genuine interest in others will always leave someone with a positive impression and trust in a leader. The common touch allows those on the ‘factory floor’ to see that their leader does not feel ‘above’ them and provides a sense of respect. Being authentic or transparent lets people know that what you see is what you get and passion inspires those who trust a leader to follow them. Finally, doing good not only helps the people around you but can also inspire others to follow suit.
While the list is simply based on observation and analysis of this one exemplary leader, and the principles are actually quite basic, ensuring that as a leader in any industry, you are continually centering back on these principles can be humbling and ever important.
In addition to the leadership characteristics, some of the social marketing examples were quite interesting. The most poignant principle I took away was to have a great product and let people tell your story. In hospitality in general and as demonstrated with Coyle’s recent and upcoming research on Guest Best Experiences, we know that clients or guests are the best (and worst) advocates for any company. So if hospitality companies continue to focus on this simple principle of making their product or service great, which of course starts with great leadership, and letting everyone else tell the story, then essentially, we all should benefit.