Throughout my life, I have had the pleasure of hearing any number of truly interesting, hilarious, and unbelievable business stories. However, for me, it's always the stories that get me thinking that I remember forever. I have always had strong opinions about the difference between confident and arrogant leaders and when I heard about the experience I am about to share with you I knew I would be retelling it for years to come.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
A friend of mine was telling me a story about an experience he observed while checking into a hotel. At the same time that he arrived an apparently non-descript person also walked in. They happened to be the CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy. Every so often Chick-fil-A hosts a leadership conference where the public is invited to get together, share ideas, debate best practices and listen to what other leaders from all over the world have to say. Prior to the conference, the CEO of Chick-fil-A was checking in and his arrival was described to me in this colorful and entertaining way: "He arrived wearing a golf shirt and shorts carrying what appeared to be a Swiss Army brand suitcase accompanied by two small plastic bags filled with personal items. On his shirt was pinned a name tag which simply said "Dan 43 Years". After checking himself in at the front desk he grabbed his $25 luggage with one hand and his two small plastic bags in the other and he went to his room. No one would ever have known that this guy was running one of the largest and most successful quick-service restaurants in the world a true billionaire by all accounts."
Oh Yeah Well Look At Me
Shortly after Dan arrived another guest pulled into the same hotel. The disparity between the two guests was remarkable. This new arrival pulled up in a Bentley jumped out of the vehicle and began barking orders. There was someone to fetch the bags, another person to check them in at the desk, a third person delivering the bags to the suite, and another person carrying the guest's shoulder bag and personal items. Nothing but arrogance exuded from this guest and it was painfully obvious that this person wanted everyone around to not only see their wealth and importance but also to revere them for it. The moral of the story? Humbleness marked by a self-confident unassuming manner is in many ways a stronger more successful representation than a flagrant portrayal of opulence and meaningless wealth. A brazen display of success is forever empty and never quite satisfying while understated meaningful accomplishments almost always lead to personal fulfillment. Ask yourself "Which type of leader am I arrogant or confident? The answer may surprise you.