7 Howard Schultz Leadership Style Principles

When it comes to one of the most successful businesses in the world, Starbucks will definitely be on the list, with its Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz on its helm. The company’s stature in the industry is attributed to Schultz’s leadership style.

According to a leadership theory formulated in 1978, there are two leaders, transactional and transformational. The man behind one of the world’s most ethical companies, Starbucks, applies the latter. Transformational leaders inspire their team and encourage members to develop as individuals and be part of a collective team to work towards achieving objectives. This is the type of leader Howard Schultz is and he ensures there is trust, respect, honesty and commitment in the company he is running.

Dimensions of Transformational Leadership

Idealized Influence – This entails being able to build confidence and earn the respect and trust of the members of one’s organization. By being a charismatic leader, followers will be more adaptive to changes when the need arises.

Inspirational Motivation – With enthusiasm and positivity, a leader will be able to motivate followers to become team players and dreamers that things are possible.

Intellectual Stimulation – Transformational leaders challenge members of the team to solve problems that arise and teach them to be creative and innovative by stimulating their minds. These allow members to voice out ideas and share their views without having the fear of being punished or reprimanded.

Individualized Consideration – With accepting the differences among employees, a transformational leader know the importance of addressing problems of workers accordingly, mentoring and offering individualized career counseling.

What makes Howard Schultz the kind of leader he was which also put him on the list of the “World’s 50 Great Leaders?”

1. He believes in hiring the right people.
For the man behind the success of Starbucks, it is not enough to tell people what to do but to get the right people for your team. After he returned as CEO in 2008, he had 10,000 of his managers go on a conference for four days in New Orleans, wherein he personally became the communicator-in-chief. His goal was to challenge and inspire his managers because he believes that companies need people with intuitive leadership skills. Being the inspirational communicator he is, he was able to convey his message and his managerial team came back more energized as ever.

2. He sticks with being consistent in delivering products and services.
Starbucks has over 22,000 stores globally which offer different coffee blends, sandwiches and hot boxes, among others. But wherever branch you go to, whether in New York or Seoul, you will always get the same perfect taste of that Mocha Frappuccino or Machiatto. Schultz had the goal of giving the best customer care service and that includes consistency of Starbucks’ products.

3. He takes real good care of his employees.
When you hear people say they admire how Howard Schultz takes care of his team, they don’t just mean he gives them perks which he does, like exploring the possibility of offering free rides to employees. He even entitles them with comprehensive health insurance and an option to own stocks, part-time employees, included. These are on top of tuition benefits and shifting schedules not requiring back-to-back graveyard shifts. Moreover, he listens to his employees. Case in point, instead of reprimanding a worker for granting an interview to The New York Times about work schedule, the company acted hours after the publication. Her manager talked with the employee and promised to stabilize her schedule. After a few days, there were positive results.

4. He respects cultures and encourages diversity.
On a regional scale, Schultz sees to it that every store he builds is designed accordingly, depending on location. This is because he believes every place has its own preference and practices. These factors include the appearance and design of the store. The team of Starbucks also applies this with how they deal with suppliers. They are open to suppliers who belong in diversified communities which include Asian-Indian Americans, African-Americans, People with Disabilities, Veterans, LGBTs and Asian-Pacific Americans, among others. Aside from identifying what customers need from other business channels, they are also contributing to the economic development of communities.

5. He has a mission and vision..
When he was interviewed by Oprah, he said that he likes coffee but that is not the reason why he went into a business related to serving it. He said that his passion is about building a company that is focused on treating people with respect and dignity. This is the vision of Starbucks. As for the company’s mission, it aims to have not just a simple place where people can enjoy their coffee and enjoy some food. It exists to give its customers a place where they can meet up with their friends, hold meetings, do their work and have some relaxation time.

6. He believes in the importance of partnerships.
For decades, the company has been partnering with organizations to reach out to its market. Schultz believes that by finding the right team to partner with, it will be easier to build brand awareness achieve its goals. Starbucks and Barnes and Noble joined forces and the latter allowed the former to set up stores within their shops in some locations. This way, customers buying books can enjoy good reads over coffee. They also partnered with Apple where customers can now download Starbucks’ playlists from iTunes.

7. He knows the importance of knowing employees and customers.
Customers and employees are pillars of a business and Schultz and his team at Starbucks knows this. Baristas give a personal touch to customers who are regulars and will usually know their orders. This practice makes a customer feel special. And there have been a miscommunication regarding an order made, employees will always rectify the mistakes made and replace the order. Shultz also believes that employees have ideas to offer and it pays to listen to them. This principle was elemental to the creation of Frappuccino. It was an invented blend by one of his employees.