Undercover Boss

Undercover Boss

Feeling Honored and Lucky

One of the attributes of a Trustworthy Leader that Amy Lyman writes about in her new book, is a Sense of Honor.  Developing a sense of honor, understanding that a leader is someone others choose to follow, is key to kicking off the Virtuous Circle of the Trustworthy Leader.

In this week’s Undercover Boss, Harlan Kent, President & CEO of The Yankee Candle Company, upon encountering a truly motivated, and engaged employee, who also happens to be an extraordinarily self-motivated human being, said, “I feel honored and really lucky to have such a standup guy working for the company.” 

Harlan Kent has a lot to be proud of.  His employees demonstrate a real sense of ownership in their stores and roles.  They are willing to help Harlan out as he bumbles through the tasks that have become routine to them.  Overall, got a sense that people really enjoyed their jobs at Yankee Candle.  Harlan demands passion of his employees and many of them demonstrate it. 

At the end of the program, when the CEO typically awards employees with cash gifts or sends them off on vacations in a feeble attempt to relieve them of the misery their jobs cause them to suffer daily, Harlan offered very personal, heartfelt gifts to those who had touched him.  Having come from a strong family life and a rather privileged background, he demonstrated a remarkable ability to see his employees as whole people and authentically cared for the stories his employees shared, the challenges they suffered, and in many cases, overcame.

When a leader demonstrates a sense of honor, as Harlan Kent did in this week’s episode, they use their power in the best interests of those they serve and recognize the reciprocity inherent in the act of leading. 

Do you know a leader with an extraordinary sense of honor?  How has that leader impacted you?

Leslie Caccamese serves as Senior Strategic Marketing Manager with Great Place To Work® Institute.