All around the U.S., dads, stepdads, and father figures celebrated Father’s Day on June 20th. This year, we decided to put a spotlight on a few very special dads, father figures, and leaders here at CORT Furniture Rental to learn the best leadership advice they’ve received or given throughout their lifetime. Enjoy!
Questions we asked
1. What’s the best leadership advice your father or a father figure has shared with you?
2. As a father or father figure, how are you teaching younger generations to be strong leaders?
3. What leadership qualities (if any) did you inherit from your father or a father figure?
4. What have your kids taught you about leadership?
Shayne Aguilar – Area Manager
1. My father taught me that we’re always leaders, and its up to us whether we lead for bad or for good. He started his own concrete finishing business when he was in his early 20’s after losing his father to an illness. My father is now 85 years old and is still referred to as the one of the hardest working and generous individuals in the construction industry in SLC. He shared, through example, that the best lead through their own efforts and examples and not on the backs of others. They lead from the front.
2. I feel that integrity is the most critical element in leadership. I’ve spent the past 30 years striving to teach my 5 kids and others through discussion, experience, and example that they should always stand tall on their ethics and values. I hope to share the same lessons with my now 4 grandkids!
3. Two things mainly; 1. I believe I inherited his drive to work for my wants and needs and to not expect of others what I’m not also willing and able to do myself. 2. Keep your commitments. Say what you mean and mean what you say, if you promise it, you’d better deliver it, and on time if not early.
4. My kids have taught me, and continue to teach me, about diversity in leadership. They help me to better understand their generations, their motivators, what doesn’t interest them that did interest earlier generations etc. My kids are helping me to avoid becoming rooted in “Old school” leadership practices that might not be effective with many in today’s workforce.
Jerry Herrmann – Director Of Operations
1. When I was younger, I was facing some adversity at school. I wanted to be transferred to another school. I did not want to go back there! I was working on my Mom to support that decision by playing on her heart strings! My Uncle stepped in and told me that if I decided to walk away and hide from this challenge, I would be teaching myself how to deal with tough scenarios in my life. I did not necessarily absorb that message fully at the time, but had great respect for my Uncle and took the challenge head on with the confidence he helped provide. I still use this moment for myself and anyone else I think might benefit from the example.
2. Be accountable at the highest level. Take ownership for all that occurs, especially the difficult stuff. When you do not feel like doing something it is usually the best time to be sure you do it. We teach ourselves valuable lessons in those moments. Be vulnerable, be honest, be grateful and try to not take things too personal!
3. Hard work and maximum effort will often separate you from your competition. There are plenty of talented people with plenty of credentials that will not be willing to work as hard. That is how you can gain an instant edge. Stay later. Do more than what is required or what is asked. “It is rarely crowded on the extra mile.”
4. “Kids often fail to listen to what we say, but they’ll often easily emulate what we do.” My daughter and now my grandson have taught me that one of the most important things I can recommit to daily, is to be the best version of myself each day. Life can be hard and I want to be sure that they have the best chance of absorbing any lessons I think are valuable by not being a walking contradiction and hypocrite while delivering them!
Cody Cassard – Territory Sales Manager
1. Use your own intuition, and don’t follow the crowd.
2. As a father to four daughters, I instill in them to be strong and self reliant. I explain that the world won’t always give them a fair shake, so they must radiate confidence and hold onto their convictions and integrity.
3. My father taught me independence while nurturing my creativity.
4. Patience… lots and lots of patience
Jeff Rowe – EVP Residential Sales
1. If you are looking to grow into your next position, go about your work everyday as if you already have it. To be viewed at the next level, model it in advance to prove that you are capable. Don’t wait for a promotion to begin leading at the next level. It could be too late as someone else will.
2. With a daughter and 2 sons between 19-25 years old, we talk a great deal about honesty and authenticity. Speak your mind and don’t blend in. There is room for everyone in a good organization. We also talk about the importance of making yourself important to your employer. We have all seen tough times recently. There are no guarantees, however, if you make yourself important to your company, you are in the best position to weather any storms that come the way of your business.
3. Passion and work ethic. My father was extremely passionate with what he did and had a work ethic that was second to none. He felt it went hand in hand with making yourself important to your employer. If you aren’t passionate and give your work everything you have, go find something else he would tell me. There is a great book called “Die Empty” by Todd Henry on the subject. The book is way more enjoyable than it sounds. It discusses finding what you love and giving it all you have. Watching my father work, I knew I’d have to love what I do if I was going to replicate his work ethic, and I do.
4. My kids are obviously one of my reasons to do what I do. Call it tradition or whatever you like, but I was fortunate to have parents who worked hard to give their kids a great life. I in turn, feel obligated to do the same for my family. All our kids watch us closer than we realize. They notice how we go about our work. If we work hard and show them that it can be done in an enjoyable and rewarding way, we are passing on that baton. If we don’t, or spend our days doing things we don’t believe in or enjoy, they will notice that and we’ll pass that baton along. I choose the former.
Pete Regules – National Sales Director
1. Try your best to learn about all aspects of your company’s business not just your particular area of responsibility. By understanding your company‘s goals and processes you make better leadership decisions.
2. My son Cooper is nine and one of the older children in his class. We talk to him about setting an example for the younger kids …being a leader. Not telling kids what to do but helping others or doing things the right way so others can see a positive example. We try to always tell Cooper “why” it is important to set the example. If he understands the “why” he is more likely to set a positive example.
3. My dad didn’t talk about it much but he was constantly helping other people and it was a great example for me to follow. Helping others is a very positive influence in our own lives.
4. Every kid is different which reminds us that all of our coworkers are different. The main thing I’ve learned is to manage or lead people fairly but each person you may have to lead or manage differently.
Michael G Connors – Senior Vice President of CORT
1. Be honest and true in everything that you say and do. Your reputation is priceless and do not do anything to diminish its value.
2. Tell them to get involved in school by playing sports and seek to participate in student government as well as volunteer in clubs and other organizations in and outside of school.
3. Lead by example. Also to listen well. We were all given two ears and one mouth, so listen to others intently to understand before speaking. Not always easy to do!
4. I have learned that they value helping others thru service and helping others as well as looking to get involved and not always looking to get credit. One example is my youngest son who was elected class president his senior year in high school (much to his surprise, as he enjoyed the process more then seeking the end result) seeing that the runner up who became vice president was very sad, asked the principal if they could be co-presidents , which the principal said ,”well that has never been done before, but sure why not.”
Mike Jenkins – Group Vice President
1. Be yourself! Don’t try and appeal to the masses or public opinion, but stay true to who you are. I think in today’s world of social media, etc… this is probably more true now more than ever.
2. Dream BIG! But be prepared to do the work to live out those dreams. Being successful and living out your dreams doesn’t come easy. If you want to be a Lion, you need to be prepared to do what a Lion does!
3. Be consistent! Regardless of what is going on at different times in your world, your family (and your team) needs to know what to expect from you and that they can count on you to be there for them.
4. Treat everyone as unique individuals. We have four kids, that are all very different and all have their own exceptional abilities and challenges. And you need to be able to adjust to each of them as individuals to help lead them where THEY want to go (which may not necessarily always be where you may want them to go).
Jeff Pederson – Chairman, CEO
1. Know yourself, then forget yourself and serve others.
2. Influence is extremely important and can be used for good.
3. My father met everyone on their terms and never felt he was better than anyone else.
4. They are always listening and watching…
Tim Deagan – Executive VP of Information Technology
1. Establish a culture where it’s absolutely safe to raise problems, as long as it’s accompanied by a possible solution. The person raising the problem doesn’t have to come up with the perfect solution, but they need to adopt a solution-oriented mindset. Teams that achieve this solve problems faster, better, and with more confidence.
2. Take deep breaths. Leaders need to be able to see the broader perspective as well as keeping actual goals in sight even, perhaps most importantly, in difficult situations. Lead from a sense of abundance rather than scarcity, i.e. create an atmosphere of potential and possibility for your team.
3. A belief that leadership is service and service is its own reward. Confidence in my ability to learn. The ability to get people to laugh. Perseverance.
4. That expecting other people to do what you would have done, or act the way you would have acted, or think the way you think, essentially to expect other people to be you is a waste of time. You have to accept that people are different and that it’s wonderful that they are.
Brian Kingsbury – Corporate Controller
1. My Dad taught me to live by the Platinum rule which is to “treat others the way they want to be treated.” He taught me to work hard and always be a person of high integrity. My Dad also taught me that life is too short to hold onto grudges….you can’t drive your car looking through the rearview mirror.
2. I tell the younger generations to be willing to take on work that nobody else wants to do. Normally, I find that I always learn something new and develop a new skill set. I also tell them to communicate their career goals to their managers and look for a good mentor. Be willing to take on roles that you aren’t 100% prepared for and allow yourself time to grow into the position.
3. I inherited from my Dad how to be a hard worker, not to cut corners, and to take pride in my work. My Dad was able to convey to me when he was not happy with me without ever raising his voice or yelling.
4. My kids have taught me to be empathetic and kind. They have taught me to be patient and to speak words of encouragement. They have also taught me to be vulnerable and that it is ok to talk about any subject without judgment.
J.T. Marcum – Vice President, Business Strategy
1. Be genuine and purposeful. Your team members are the most important asset you have in accomplishing your goals in company. Invest heavily in your people, get to know them personally and professionally and allow them to get to know you. Be intentional about employee development and put your employees interests ahead of your own.
2. I don’t have children only dogs, so the only thing I’ve taught them is sit and stay and I’ve not been overly successful at that.
3. My father is the most incredible person that I know, and I can only aspire to be 1/10 the person and leader that he is. I’ve always admired the bond he had with his team members and the relationships that he created. If I could emulate one thing that he did it would be to create deep meaningful relationships with all of those around me so that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.
4. My dogs have taught me more about leadership than I’ve taught them. 🙂