Build up and challenge your employees. Jimmy Rayford, CEO of Dealer’s Wholesale in Indianapolis, champions leading through action and genuine care for others. Jimmy shares how authenticity and staying true to his commitments have served him through every stage of his leadership.
Share Your Priorities
Jimmy grew up spending lots of time with his mom and grandparents. He recognized the women in his family exerted a quiet but powerful leadership. Their leadership was less about being vocal and more about getting things done.
He makes a point of emulating that leadership style today in his CEO role. However, Jimmy says when it comes to alignment, both words and actions are necessary.
[10:20] “Alignment for me is shared priorities. … The way I seek to make sure that we have it is, first of all: Be vocal about it. Don’t keep it a secret.”
Authentically Invest In People
Jimmy recalls a former manager of his as an example of true leadership. They worked together occasionally over a 20-year span, and Jimmy still draws upon lessons he learned from this role model like:
- Stay true to your commitments.
- Invest in people and show them you care about them.
When leaders give their employees growth opportunities, they feel valued professionally and personally. These opportunities build confidence and accountability within your team.
Jimmy points out that authentically caring for your employees isn’t always easy. If employees choose to go elsewhere, don’t take it personally. Good leaders recognize that a positive move for their employees — even if that means going somewhere else — is also a good move for the company in the long run. Leaders want everyone to operate at their highest capacity and to feel fulfilled in their work.
[29:27] “If you put your people first — if you position your people and do everything you can do to set them up for success and invest in them — you’ll build a team that you have to hold back.”
Jimmy’s advice is to be authentic in front of your employees, avoid getting caught up in just thinking about how to solve problems and always remember to act.