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  • Carla Collis Gesite

A Lesson in Leadership

My Dad taught me a valuable lesson when I was a brash little kid that I still draw upon today. He owned a Waffle House franchise, and my sister and I sometimes went to work with him. On this particular day, we got to go to a restaurant instead of the boring office. Oh how we loved eating waffles and 'spying' on the customers through the two-way mirror in the back!

So, I'm sitting in a booth, drowning my waffles in syrup, when I spot my Dad mopping the floor. Mopping the floor?! Incredulous, I asked him, "Don't you own this place?" He nodded. I asked, "Then why don't you get somebody else to do that?"

Even at that young age, I knew that owners typically didn’t mop floors. I couldn't fathom why my Dad would do it. Looking a little disappointed at my attitude, he explained that he saw it needed doing, so he took care of it. And he told me, "Just because you're the owner doesn't mean you don't have to work hard."

It was a lesson in so many things -- leadership, humility, respect for others.

I took it in as much as I could at my age. Looking back, I appreciate it all the more. Mopping that floor...

Showed that no task was beneath him.

Demonstrated support for his employees.

Encouraged them to pitch in where needed.

Fostered a positive environment for employees and customers alike.

Looking back, what lesson from childhood stands out for you?

Pass it on to a young person today.


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