Smart entrepreneurs lead by listening. Zach Stewart, Visionary and vice president of Wilcox Door Service Inc., has spent years developing a culture of collaboration, multiculturalism, and engagement in his workplace. By observing good and bad leadership in action, Zach has been able to learn how to accept feedback and stay true to his values.
Vision Meets Shrewdness
Zach grew up surrounded by leaders. His father started Wilcox Door Service and has run it successfully for 30 years. Zach recalls that he first learned what it meant to be a good leader from listening to his parents talk shop — often at the dinner table. His father is a Visionary with a gift for capturing attention with his ideas. His mother is an Integrator with shrewd analytical and decision-making skills.
Thus, Zach gained his own leadership style: a value-driven leader who produces sound, big-picture ideas that are financially achievable.
Good Leader, Bad Leader
Working under poor leadership strains a company and its employees, but Zach has learned that valuable lessons can come from observing it. Zach says that his experience around leaders who were ego-driven, played favorites, and dismissed others’ ideas strengthened his commitment to listening and practicing empathetic leadership.
In his work today, Zach stays true to his commitment by:
- Making himself available to anyone in the company who wishes to share an idea, complaint, or criticism.
- Giving his employees the tools to solve problems and grow.
- Empowering them to become leaders.
- Providing guidance when necessary.
[9:48] “I’ve shown them the road that I would go down, but I don’t show them how to take it. They need to learn how they’re going to go down that road on their own.”
Leading With Multiculturalism
Zach has always seen the value that diversity brings to the workplace. An indigenous Canadian himself, Zach helps his team recognize the importance of multiculturalism and diversity.
[16:13] “[Diversity] is a strength, it’s not a weakness, and it’s something we need to celebrate.”
Diversity provides the opportunity for coworkers to develop and express respect for those who are different from them — a trait necessary for any leader.
Hire For Values, Train For Skills
Zach says one of the many strengths of Wilcox Door Services lies in its training. The company trains its own technicians and provides opportunities for them to grow in their trade. This allows the company to stay ahead of swings in the labor market and ensures that all of its technicians share its core values.
[21:05] “If you have the values, we can teach you the rest.”
Put in the work of listening to and observing others. You will become better able to recognize the good in every experience, and your leadership will mature as a result.