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Leadership + Service Lessons From President's Day

During the third Monday of February, we celebrate President's Day. This is a great opportunity to honor all those who have served as our nation's Chief Executive.

It is a time to reflect on the leaders who have shaped our nation's history. But it goes beyond politics, as there are valuable lessons that can be applied to leadership, employee engagement, and customer experience.

I learned a long time ago the quickest way to clear the dining room table was to start talking politics, so what follows is about the traits that some our presidents embodied that made them outstanding leaders. Let's disconnect from policy and politics and talk about the people themselves.

Remember that leadership is the catalyst that ignites employee and customer experience. Leaders who communicate with, empower, and engage their teams will find great success in their customer experience strategies.

Here are some insights to consider this Presidents Day:

Lead by Example, Teddy Roosevelt:

One of the most important qualities of a great leader is leading by example. Teddy Roosevelt was a prime example of this. He was known for his "speak softly and carry a big stick" mentality, which essentially meant that he would try to be diplomatic, but if push came to shove, he was prepared to make it happen by other means. This mindset helped him to negotiate many important treaties, such as the treaty that ended the Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt was also a great example of employee engagement in leadership, as he was famous for involving his team in decision making and ideation.

Be Open-Minded, Bill Clinton:

Bill Clinton is known for his ability to empathize with people from different backgrounds and to understand their perspectives. This is a valuable trait for any leader to have, as it allows them to connect with a wider range of people and to come up with more innovative solutions to problems. As a bonus, he was also a master communicator and orator - and in fact someone I studied while I was in college to learn stage presence. Of course, many remember the scandals while he was in office, but remember we are more interested in his empathy and communication acumen.

Stay True To Your Believes, John Adams:

Despite facing challenges and criticism throughout his presidency, Adams remained steadfast in his commitment to serving the American people and upholding the values of democracy. Also during his time as a lawyer in Boston, he defended British Soldiers after the Boston Massacre because he not only believed that they had a case, but that everyone deserved a vigorous defense. He was also one of the most prominent members of the American Revolution, vigorously defending the Declaration of Independence on the floor of the Continental Congress. He may have been a better revolutionary than president, but he makes my list all the same.

Be Decisive, Harry Truman:

Another important quality of a great leader is the ability to make quick, decisive decisions. Harry Truman famously said, "The buck stops here," meaning that he took full responsibility for the decisions he made. This kind of decisiveness can inspire confidence in your team and help to move your organization forward. Your team knows if you are committed to your decisions or waffling until you can see where the wind is blowing. Truman made some of the most difficult decisions of any president, especially at the end of World War II. Don't shy away from tough calls and own them when you make them.

Communicate Effectively, Ronald Reagan:

Effective communication is crucial to success in leadership employee engagement, and customer experience. Ronald Reagan was known for his ability to communicate effectively and to connect with people on a personal level. This helped him to achieve some important victories, such as the end of the Cold War. He was a different type of communicator than Clinton, showing that there are many ways to effectively communicate your vision and engage your team.

This is a great day to consider your own leadership and what you can learn from those who have led our country.

Leadership can fuel employee engagement, which is rocket fuel for customer experience. Without communication, engagement, and recognition, it is much harder for teams to understand the service expectations and to deliver on them for the long term.

It doesn't matter your position within your organization - you might be a supervisor, executive leader, or a small business owner - there is something here that we can all learn from and take action upon.

Find the style that works for you in an authentic way and that inspires your team and delights your customers.

That's how you keep people at the center of everything you do.


Tony Johnson, CCXP Customer + Employee Experience | Speaker | Author | Trainer | Consultant 606.356.7447 FREE RESOURCES AND TRAINING TOOLS WEB - TWITTER - FACEBOOK - YOUTUBE - INSTAGRAM - LINKEDIN - PODCAST - CALENDAR Improve Your Customer Service with my Book: TOGETHER WE SERVE: Four Proven Strategies to Create Winning Experiences for Your Guests and Your Team. Click to Purchase on


Tony is an award winning speaker and author on the topics of sales growth, customer experience, and leadership. Tony speaks to thousands annually and has been featured on ABC News and Fox News. He is available for business planning, motivational keynotes, leadership workshops, and employee service skills training.

Tony is the founder of Ignite Your Service and the Chief Experience Officer for 4xi Global Consulting.


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