Howard Schultz is known globally as an incredible business owner whom started the company named Starbucks. I have first hand experience with Howard Schultz’s leadership style, because I worked for Starbucks for 9 years as a young man. Working for Starbucks as my first job shaped the path of my business savvy for the rest of my life. When I was young, many of my friends would complain about their “sucky” jobs or misery while working, However, I was always proud to say I worked for Starbucks and I looked forward to every shift. I took my job very seriously and most importantly, as an employee I felt empowered.
Empowered. That’s Howard Schultz’s favorite word. He said so during many of his routine videos he would have every barista across the planet watch. Howard is a true transformational leader. A transformational leadership style embodies higher principles for their employees. Our class notes define transformational leadership as, “changing the status quo by appealing to followers’ values and their sense of higher purpose. Transformational leaders engage with followers and create a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower” (Northouse, 2016). Howard would adhere to this style of leadership in countless ways. He would close the stores across the world on a regular basis to continue training of employees and enlighten them to the newest flavors and promotions being launched. He would encourage all employees to enjoy any drink for free during their shift. He would send every barista home with a $15 bag of coffee on a weekly basis. Howards philanthropy included funds for baristas affected by natural disasters or acts of God, such as a house burning down. He would issue stock to the employees regularly for free. The list could go on endlessly about Howard Schultz as a transformational leader.
I learned when working for Starbucks under a transformational leader such as Howard, that when you respect and earn your employees true “buy in”, they reciprocate these acts. Having a leader like Howard is what made me as a 16-year-old boy show up to work on time, smile to every customer, be excited about our products, and learn how to conduct myself and treat other coworkers how I wanted to be treated. As a business owner myself now, I have the utmost respect for transformational leaders, and I do my best to practice this approach in every way possible.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage Publishing.