What Does It Take to Lead?

May 12, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

What does it take to be a leader in food retailing today? That’s the subject of a Supermarket News editorial written by the publication’s editor of Home & Health, Mark Hamstra.

Mr. Hamstra recounts a Super Session at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show in his editorial. The session included presentations by Feargal Quinn, chief executive of SuperQuinn in Ireland, Simon Woodroffe, founder and chief executive of Yo! Sushi in London and Don Knauss, president, sales, retail division of Coca-Cola North America.

Mr. Quinn told the Chicago audience that his leadership derived its strength from listening to customers. He sits at approximately 38 customer roundtable discussions throughout the year.

Yo! Sushi’s Woodroffe said leaders need a long-term vision, what he calls “imagined hindsight” if they want others to follow.

Mr. Knauss defined five qualities a person needs to be a leader: integrity, curiosity, humility, compassion and optimism.

Moderator’s Comment: What qualities do you think make
for great leaders?

We tend to think of leaders in expeditionary terms. They
must have:

  1. A sense of humor and the ability to laugh at themselves

  2. An idea where they want to go

  3. A roadmap for getting there

  4. The ability to communicate where the group is headed,
    the role each member will play in getting there and the rewards each will
    reap on the journey

  5. A willingness to fail and to let others do the same

  6. The personal self-confidence to listen to others

  7. A need to serve

  8. A word that is their bond. [George
    Anderson – Moderator

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