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From the editor: Lessons in leadership

From the editor: Lessons in leadership

It’s not just back-to-school time for kids and teachers. We all are coming back from summer vacations, long weekends and the slight slowdown we get in July and August. In September, it’s back to business. Travel picks up, budget season arrives, and we take our first stabs at 2016 goals.

If you’re looking for a jumpstart to help regain momentum, look no further than the latest special reports from Nation’s Restaurant News. Here, our Golden Chain and Norman Award winners provide words of wisdom that apply to anyone in business at any stage of their career or business cycle. Also this month, a special report on the changing relationships consumers have with food and restaurants. “What America Eats” provides insights into what restaurants should be doing to meet new consumer culinary demands. 

Diving into these reports is mandatory reading. But if you can’t quite shake off summer, allow me to provide some inspiration with some of the most important lessons in leadership from our 2015 award winners: 

Cheryl Bachelder, on leaving a legacy:
When I think about a leadership legacy, I want to inspire people to be very purposeful in their work, to exhibit both competence and character. I can’t touch as many lives as I’d like to so I want to make sure the few I can touch I do in a meaningful way.

Peggy Cherng, on finding the next generation of leaders:
The first thing to look for is a hospitality mentality … we look for people who have a mindset of serving others. Then we look for somebody [who] really wants to learn, and to never give up. I would think that I’d like to work for somebody who never gives up on themselves, who really wants to strive and learn, and be vulnerable … people who want to be the best they can be.

John Gainor, on leadership philosophy:
Everyone in the organization has a role and every role in the organization is as important as mine or anyone else’s … That’s one of the things that I learned early in my career, that you treat everybody the same way. I think it’s just critical to running a good organization.

John Miller, on leadership development:
First, you must have [employees’] best interests at heart [and] you want to demonstrate that that’s true, by your actions, and the actions you expect of your leadership team. You want to give persistent, timely, honest, and constructive feedback, in an environment where that’s expected … [And finally] put them in a position of their strength so they can win.

Charlie Morrison, on the responsibility of leadership:
One former CEO and a mentor of mine told me when I became the CEO: You have to treat it like you were just given the keys to the building … and recognize that you have a sense of ownership now and commitment, not only to the organization but truly to the people.

Julia Stewart, on career development:
A lot of people still believe that there’s this straight career path. You get this job, then you get a bigger job, then you get a bigger job. [But you should] do something to really broaden your skillset — going sideways, and crooked, down, and around, and about — I think it’s invaluable to learn different skills and bring different perspectives.

Hear more from these executives and listen to full-length conversations between current and former Golden Chain winners >>

School is in session. 

Sarah E. Lockyer, Editor-in-Chief
E-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: @slockyerNRN

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