A loving teacher dedicating his life to his profession becomes the model for his admiring students. A teacher can make or mar the future of the student for he is the hero whom he desires to emulate and imitate in dress, habit and style of living and thinking. When teachers divide themselves into factions or scandalize each other or revel in the game of politics, students are easily infected by the same harmful tendencies. Discipline can become rooted in the atmosphere of the campus only when teachers set the example. As the leaders, so the led. —SSSB
Over the years I have found the mix of spirituality in relation to management and business most interesting. I had the privilege of observing the behavior and example of my schoolmates who were placed in positions of responsibility. Many of them, I thought, believed they arrived because they captained their leadership and authority with egos of abuse and arrogance. It also seemed they needed validation, as seen in their constantly reporting members of their team to the coach or other figures of authority.
By the age of fourteen I had become proficient at sports at school, so I had the great fortune of being placed in positions of responsibility. My coaches told me that besides
being talented, I had the right energy, spirit and attitude for leadership. In my age group I was first in field and track and the wrestling and boxing champion, and I duly became the cricket and soccer captain. This gave me an introduction into the art of leading and motivating my teammates. It gave me the opportunity to ensure that my leadership was executed with fairness, impartiality, guidance, motivation and good sportsmanship.
A sport, I insisted, is only a game very much like life. There had to be a winner and there had to be a loser. If we happened to have lost, then it was important to accept it in good faith like mature men. There would always be a next time. The difference was the manner in which the sport was played, and only our best was good enough. In high school I was destined to play other leadership roles.
Within a year of leaving school, I joined the army and received a scholarship to attend military school, where our motto was, “Serve to lead.” I was taught that a leader was one who had the will to dominate and motivate with fairness and mercy, together with a character that inspires confidence and trust.
At age twenty-one I was given my first command of a platoon of soldiers, some of whom were old enough to be my father. On retiring my commission from the army I relinquished command of my battle group of more than 150 men and gave up the uniform. I ceased to be an officer but was still a gentleman!
On joining the business world I took with me tremendous lessons, lessons I had learned from my upbringing, observing my parents in business, from my
spirituality and from my training. I was molded into a dynamo of a leader in the tactics of living and the strategy of life.
In business I learned that the bottom line—profit before tax—made the difference between stagnation and growth. But even more importantly, I realized that the greatest asset I possessed, no matter where or with whom I worked, was my staff—not just my staff, but also the staff of any business or corporation. In this respect, one of the memorable experiences I gained was working with a dynamic boss who, at
the time, was my mentor. He was later to become a recognized leader in the hospitality industry. It was indeed a privilege to have had Gordon “Butch” Stewart as my immediate boss. I was there first hand to witness the way he inspired his employees with training, discipline, caring, understanding and compassion.
He always had an open door policy and made himself accessible to his staff, from the janitor to the most senior member. He made his team feel as if we were more than paid people. He had that special way of embracing us as if we were all members of one family—his family! He galvanized us into a hardworking, motivated and dedicated group, at the same time providing an enjoyable working environment. His welfare and concern for his employees created a loyalty and commitment that is, to this day, unsurpassed. This
is borne out by the fact that his management and leadership qualities continued into a venture that has since blossomed into a world-class company called the Sandals All-inclusive Resort Hotels.
If you have been on a tropical vacation before and did not make it Sandals, then you did yourself a disservice. I encourage you to include this experience as one of your future vacations. When you visit, make sure to note the quality of the product and the efficiency, enthusiasm, sincerity, morale and friendliness of the staff. Another excellent chain that provides a high quality of hospitality service is the Super Club Chain of Hotels in the Caribbean.
Regardless of whether you are a junior employee, supervisor, manager or a CEO, as you enjoy the holiday of a lifetime
at any of these hotels, pay particular attention to the standard of service and commitment of the staff. Make your vacation a learning retreat experience that you can take back to your company. It will all be worth it for your future growth.
In the boss/supervisor versus staff relationship, there is a...
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