Since my youth football days, I’ve been drawn to leadership and it’s impact on people. Back then, I didn’t really understand what leadership meant other than showing up to practice early and working my butt off to earn a spot on the team. Luckily I did, and I’ll forever treasure those days; but it wasn’t until I hired my first employee that I truly appreciated what great leaders do. Again, I was walking blind, but this was no longer a dress rehearsal – Ed had entrusted his future and his family’s wellbeing to our firm, and it was up to me to help him excel professionally. Without hesitation, I put myself in his shoes. I knew that starting a new career was challenging enough, but to do it with an unstable financial position while raising a young family is borderline scary.
I remember vividly having lunch with him on his first day; and while we both felt the euphoria of starting something new, still I wanted him to know that he would never be alone. Ed was no stranger to pressure as he was a highly competitive collegiate athlete, and fortunately for me, the one thing he valued above others was the one thing that I could provide – a coach. From that moment on, I knew the precise reason that pulled me towards leadership – it was and continues to be helping ambitious individuals extend their range of possibilities and capture their fullest potential.
When Mark Miller started working at Chick-fil-A as an hourly team member in 1977, little did he know that leadership would come calling exactly one year later. Today as the vice president for organizational effectiveness, Mark has distilled The Heart of Leadership to one acronym – H.E.A.R.T – here’s how you can internalize it.