In a world filled with CEOs who pilfer their company's coffins for their personal interests, there are a few like Leonard Abess Jr., CEO of City National Bank of Florida whose recent action embodies the concept of ultimate leadership. When a Spanish bank bought into 83% of Leonard's bank recently, Leonard and his executives made a pile of dough like most executives do during a successful financial transaction. However, the similarities with most executives stop right there. Leonard shared over $60 Million of his personal fortune with ALL his employees. In all, he shared his personal wealth with over 471 present and past employees including tellers, secretaries and clerks with each employee getting an average of $127,000. This story reminds us that the world of business still has its share of leaders who really CARE for their employees and do not mind to SHARE, even their wealth.
I personally have had such an experience during the early 90s (downturn time) and will always remain indelible in my mind . One of my first managers at National Semiconductor, Ted Hasegawa called us in to a conference room one day and explained why most employees did not receive anything benefit that quarter from the profit sharing plan. However, he said that the senior managers in the company who belonged to a different bonus plan received a check. He then handed each of us (team of about 7 engineers) an envelope with a check and a personal note on how each of our performance during the quarter enabled him to meet his goals and therefore receive the bonus check. Ted showed that he CARED for us by SHARING his wealth.
I am not saying that it is a must for leaders to share their wealth in order to show us that they cared. Sharing wealth is a very hard thing to do and requires ultimate generosity. However, leaders can begin by sharing knowledge, sharing experience and sharing limelight with their employees. In a world where it all about ME, it is important that stories such as Leonard and Ted be shared and they be commended publicly to energize other leaders to share. Organizations must teach and coach their leaders to share their wisdom gained from years of experience to help grow the next generation leaders. While it is important for managers to be rewarded for their capabilities to achieve results, it is also important for organizations to emphasize and reward leaders on their capabilities to CARE and SHARE. Just imagine a world where every leader CARED for each of us and truly wanted us to grow into a better person by SHARING their experiences.