Are strong leadership qualities the secret sauce to success?


This blog post was written by Andrew Roelfs.

An Act of Leadership

While traveling for work, I stopped for lunch at a local Chic-fil-A restaurant. Little did I know, I was about to witness an unexpected act of strong leadership. As I waited to place my order, I noticed a uniformed soldier in line next to me. When the soldier reached for his wallet to pay and the cashier said, “Not today – this one is on us.” The cashier handed the solider his meal and thanked him for his service. I was surprised by this unexpected act of kindness and leadership. Without seeking manager approval or asking for a military ID, the cashier simply made a decision. Ultimately, that decision made a positive impact on the soldier and all who witnessed the act of kindness. The cashier made a decision without hesitation and showed great leadership.

Our Best Leadership Tool

When I returned home from my work trip, I reflected on what I witnessed at Chic-fil-A. I began to question how we might improve our teams by allowing them to make similar leadership decisions. Our world is full of processes, procedures, best practices, and SOPs, but we must not forget the best leadership tool we have – our people! Are we allowing our teams to learn and grow by giving them the opportunity to make these types of leadership decisions? Providing our teams with the autonomy to make decisions and go above and beyond for clients can make a significant impact.

I was impressed by the cashier’s decision at Chic-Fil-A. Front line people are in the best position to make a positive impact on our customers. As leaders, we must allow our teams to do that. Productivity is key to all businesses. However, good business is about more than just productivity and dollars saved. Good business also involves good people, strong teams, and determination to go the extra mile.

What unexpected acts of leadership have you witnessed?