Greg Mills and Rich Daughtridge, co-founders of Warehouse Cinemas, speak to the importance of leading by example. From their entrepreneurial experience, which includes opening a theater on the cusp of the pandemic, Greg and Rich have discovered the power of learning from others, taking risks, and acting deliberately.
Leaders Thrive in Adversity
Greg and Rich have been a Visionary and Implementer™ duo for nearly 15 years. When Rich approached Greg with his idea for Warehouse Cinemas, they knew they had found their next major undertaking.
When Warehouse Cinemas opened its doors in December 2019, neither Rich, Greg, nor the rest of the world could see the pandemic around the corner. But even when it hit, they didn’t let it halt them. In true entrepreneurial fashion, Rich and Greg knew they could figure out a way to weather the storm. They showed classic films, had costume nights, and made an event out of going to the movies.
[Rich: 9:11] “[The pandemic] crystallized our belief that going to the movies has to be more than going to the film you’re going to see. It has to be an experience.”
Leadership Is Deliberate
Both Greg and Rich recall their fathers as their first examples of leadership. For Greg, his father exemplified servant leadership. Rich remembers how his father brought him on business trips, which allowed Rich to see him in action as an entrepreneur and as a leader.
Rich and Greg reflect that their leadership styles have also been formed significantly by the poor examples of leadership they have encountered as well.
[Greg: 21:53] “I think that leadership is deliberate. I think there’s a lot of people that have charisma… and personality… but leadership takes deliberate effort and sometimes it’s contrary to your… nature.”
Effective leaders have empathy for those they interact with — and if leaders expect their team to be disciplined, they must lead by example.
Rely On Each Other
Greg and Rich have had their fair share of feeling stuck as leaders. They’ve learned that the best way forward is to rely on each other for help. They admit it’s not always easy to be on the same page, but they stress that a certain level of tension in a relationship, whether it’s a business partnership or a friendship, is healthy.
[Rich: 26:26] “When values align and you have strengths professionally, that’s where the magic happens.”
Entrepreneurs constantly make mistakes. It’s a condition for playing the game. Sometimes it can be difficult to accept that when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re in for a lifetime of mistakes. And that’s ok.
[Greg: 28:43] “You just have to accept your mistakes, realize you’re not perfect, and not beat yourself up at the same time. Be kind to yourself, and yet still realize the imperfection of your mistakes.”
Rich believes that the best way to become a better leader is to intentionally study leadership, whether you’re currently in a leadership position or not. You’re going to grow proportionally to the good leadership present in your organization — and that starts with you.