Leadership+Resilience

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Leaders disproportionately help set the tone

Last night the cashier at Dairy Queen left us standing at the counter for several minutes, took our order wrong (it was only Blizzards!), and needed help counting up 99 cents in change (literally, from a coworker).

Today, at a Starbucks I have never been to, the team greeted each person as they came in the door (in the door!), provided periodic status updates on our drinks for those of us waiting at the bar, worked quickly and proficiently, and offered kindness.

What accounts for such a big difference?

Both are fast food. Both were filled with young people. Both were busy. What gives? Simple. At some point an expectation was created, communicated, and reinforced at each establishment that eventually birthed a culture. It birthed a way of doing things ’round here.

The customer culture at one place? Lacking. The customer culture at the other place? Excellent.

Leaders influence an establishment’s culture at its most fundamental. You and I disproportionately influence the tone. What tone are we choosing to set?

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on July 22, 2019

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