Throughout my life, I’ve worn many hats and had a wide variety of leadership roles. As I’ve grown, my view on leadership has developed alongside me. There are many ways to approach being a leader, but for me, I prefer a firm but empathetic stance. I strive to see continuous growth through incremental improvements. I don’t expect to see a massive change overnight, but as long as my team is improving, I feel like I’ve been a successful leader.
My First Job
Everyone has to start somewhere; for me, that was as a dishwasher at Dot’s Country Kitchen out in Jasper, Alabama. Being a dishwasher is anything but glamorous, but it’s where I first realized the importance of the motto “Always do your best!” While I was far from in a management position in that kitchen, I knew I could still make an impact. I wanted to be the best dishwasher I could be. No matter your role, you can always lead by example. Through working hard every day, I showed others the importance of a strong work ethic. You don’t have to be the boss to be a leader.
My Corporate Experience
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some truly amazing leaders throughout my corporate career who have helped me develop my operational and service skills. These have been natural fits for me because I genuinely enjoy solving problems and creating order. Those tendencies shine through in my management approach. I don’t take a back seat to leadership; I dive in, build relationships and help create order. Leadership is about serving the team and our franchisees to help them achieve success. As a leader, you can’t be lazy or selfish – you have to lead by example.
Finally, I’ve learned that leadership isn’t something that simply stops when the work day is over. One of my most important leadership positions is in my home. I have four children aged 14 to 25, and it’s definitely my priority to be fully engaged with them and set a good example. As my family has grown, I’ve worked hard to maintain a good work-personal life balance and stay active in the community. I want my children to understand the importance of hard work, challenging yourself and committing to a project, whether that be a school assignment or running a company.
To me, leadership is many things. It’s being there for your team every step of the way and guiding them to success. It’s knowing when to ask for help. It’s doing your best and being a positive presence so that you’re leading by example.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on leadership. How have you led by example? What have you learned from others whom you consider to be leaders?