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What Defines Leadership: Thoughts from Mr. Appliance Franchise Leaders

As you may know, my wife is the vice president of Mr. Appliance. In the past few weeks I had a chance to have dinner with several of their franchisees. This group represents some of the best leaders in the Mr. Appliance network. I always enjoy interacting with other brand’s franchisees to see how similar, or different, they may be from my Glass Doctor franchisees.

I asked everyone at dinner, “How do you define leadership?” As I listened, I found it interesting that everyone had a different point of view – but I think every one of them is spot on. Their answers were:

  • Communication and Focus.  One of the men there named Steven said this is also how one defines a good marriage. Based on their success in both of these areas – I know he is exactly right. Steven and his wife Tammy just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary.
  • Listening to My Peers. This is how another man in attendance named Paul described it. He went on to say that it is also very important to ask questions. This trip was organized by a group of franchisees who talk to or text each other every day on a variety of issues. It helps keep them all focused and has been one of the reasons they are all close friends. Successful people wanted to be mentored by other successful people – regardless of your experience.
  • Not Being Afraid to Make Decisions. This one was attendee Dylan’s response. Although Dylan is one of the youngest members of the group he is also one of the most successful. He attributes this to his attitude on making decisions. This reminds me of the old adage, “Even a dead fish floats.” So often I see business people paralyzed with fear to make the wrong decision and they don’t move forward in any area of their lives. People become victims – not realizing that this is a decision, too. Never happens to Dylan!
  • Inspire People to Improve Their Lives. This came from an attendee named Matt. Matt is also one of the younger guys in the group but focuses on what he must do to inspire his employees. Great insight for somebody young, isn’t it?! This is the type of person people love to work for!
  • Train! Attendee Pam’s thought really hit me, too. For some reason we tend to hire people with experience at some facet of business and expect the employee to be expert in every phase of the business. I learned many years ago that there are some people with “10 years of experience” who simply have repeated 1 year of experience 10 times. They never learned more than they knew after one year on a job.
  • Camaraderie with Employees and Peers. An attendee named Anthony mentioned this one. I’ve heard the two schools of thought – don’t get too close to your employee vs. make your employee feel part of your family. I happen to operate closer to what Anthony says. I also learned from my wife, Mary Kay that this works as long as you still have guidelines in place and never veer from those guidelines. “Keeping them between the ditches” is her favorite quote for leadership.
  • Documentation. This tipcame from an attendee named Lynette. You can tell that she works in that end of the business and suffers when things aren’t documented, paperwork gets lost, etc. How often has lack of documentation hurt you in your business? When an employee leaves, does all their knowledge and work go, too, and you are now paying for it (it more ways than one)?
  • Honesty and Integrity. This is how attendee Charlie finished up the dinner discussion. He is one of the largest franchisees in the group and knows how vitally important this is to being a great leader. Have you ever worked for someone who wasn’t honest and/or had no integrity? How long before you quit that job?

There you have it. Eight great leadership ideas coming from great Mr. Appliance franchisees operating in different parts of the country.

Leadership has nothing about where you live, your culture or company, or your experience.  It describes who you are and how you live your life and run your business.

Your question for the week – how do you define Leadership?

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