NRF: Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly talks about what it takes to ‘be’ a great leader
In a session focusing on “leading with conviction” at the NRF Big Show in New York, Best Buy’s CEO, Hubert Joly, admitted that he began working with an executive coach about 10 years ago and recognized that one of his biggest “quirks” was a lingering tendency to think he was ”the smartest person in the room.” That was holding back his ability to create an environment for others to be successful.
Said Mr. Joly, “As I age, I believe that IQ is way overrated and that EQ is where it matters. It’s how you assemble a team and what kind of types of leaders you put in power.”
Being clear about your role as a leader is one of the five “be”’s of Mr. Joly’s leadership philosophy, which also includes being a purposeful leader. “Be clear about what drives you as an individual and what’s the meaning of your life and how it connects you to the company,” he said.
A good leader focuses on serving customers, not themselves or their “boss”, and is driven by their underlying values, added Mr. Joly.
Finally, leaders have to be authentic. He questioned the notion that “life happens outside of work” and encouraged executives to bring the “true version of yourself” to the workplace.
A move that embraced many of these leadership guidelines was the retailer’s decision last year to take proceeds from the 2017 tax reform to invest in additional benefits for employees, most notably a child care backup service.
On the other hand, Mr. Joly said leaders should be aware of four common leadership drivers — power, fame, glory and money — that cause “bad things” to happen.
Indeed, he believes a successful company must be about more than making money. He said, “You have to make money to be in business, but the purpose is to contribute to our customers, employees, shareholders and the communities we’re in. Magic happens when you can align people with the purpose of the company.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What core leadership qualities do you believe guide successful retailers today? Have those principles changed over the years? What are the bad habits that tend to plague ineffective teams?