Summer here in New England, was down one grocery store chain (71 stores to be exact) and anything but typical . The events made national news coverage, along with numerous analysis and prestigious professors sharing their opinions. The end result was Arthur T. Demoulas and $1.5 billion to buy and hold the majority ownership of the grocery chain.
The Financial Cost of Bad Bosses
The numbers speak for themselves. In 2012, Business Wire published it’s “Bad Boss Study,” which found 65% of those surveyed would take a new boss over a raise and 60% said they would do a better job if they had a better relationship with their boss— while 31% feel uninspired and unappreciated by their boss. This nationwide problem is costing an estimated $ 360 billion annually in lost productivity.
In the case of Market Basket, employees walked out after the board fired their favorite friend and CEO. They arranged tireless protests and gained support from customers, friends, and vendors. This resulted in the company losing millions of dollars every week the store was not properly staffed or stocked.
A Leadership’s Legacy
Every leader’s goal is to inspire and influence their people to move their organization forward. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is not the situation.
Personally, I believe, one of the reasons Arthur T. is so loved by his people is because there are no boundaries to his leadership. His actions reflect his deep beliefs and commitments to his people and there are no set office hours for that. He walks and talks his leadership style and brand 24/7. The man you see in the office is the man he is at home. We are witnessing the real true version of this man. It’s not the title that makes him so loved or remarkable; it’s Arthur T Demoulas, at his core.
“He cares more about people than he does about money,” said one employee.
“He always has time for his workers,” said another. “He frequently attends their family weddings and funerals.”
Lesson from the CEO
We can’t help but admire and adore a leader that uses their power authentically and shows (or exhibits) humility, grace, and commitment to the people. His caring actions towards his team in and outside the grocery store are evident when he calls people to ask about theirsick mother, newborn child, or to attend events not required for any ordinary CEO. These stories are told by employees to others spread like wildfire, strengthening his brand and following.
What can other leaders and CEOs learn from this incident? I believe the lasting impact of this New England family feud is yet to be recognized, but it will be long lasting. Other leaders and aspiring leaders should take a page or two out of Arthur T’s playbook and revaluate their definition of leadership and how they feel about all the people within their organization. Every person, at every level and in all corners of the organization, has a part in the company’s success and failure, which at its very essence is a reflection of the leadership style.
Without your people, you’re leading no one.