In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to share some advice my dad gave me back in high school. We were at a Boy Scout potluck awards dinner in Virginia. I was 14 years old.
After the awards, they opened the buffet in the church basement. Danny, the 17-year old Lodge Chief, pushed past everyone as he ran for the food. His attitude seemed to be, “I’m in charge, so I go to the front of the line!”
On the drive home, my dad criticized Danny’s self-serving behavior, citing an Army mantra: “Leaders eat last.” The idea is that when you’re leading a team that’s out on a mission, you don’t eat until your team is taken care of. And if there’s not enough food, you’re the one who goes hungry.
This selfless ethos apparently didn’t make it to companies like Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom, where executives enriched themselves while destroying billions in shareholder value and ultimately putting thousands out of work.
The best leaders earn loyalty by taking care of their people first. What do you think?