I recently read an article about a generous stand taken by a leader and CEO named, Dan Price. Price is the Founder and CEO of Gravity Payments. When I read the story, I was impressed with his benevolence. However, it was his actions as a leader that peaked my curiosity and prompted me to find out more about him and his leadership style.
If you don’t know the story, Dan Price announced at a staff meeting that over the next three years the minimum annual salary for every employee will be increased to $70,000. It was heartwarming to hear expressions of the positive impact the salary increase will have on the employees. One young man said he and his wife will be able to start a family sooner than they had previously thought and one young woman stated she would be able to fulfill her dream of purchasing a home before she turned 21. As I tend to do when I hear something of interest, I immediately went to Google and searched for Dan Price and Gravity Payments. I wanted to know more about this company, its leader, and ultimately, what it was that drove Mr. Price to make such a generous gesture. After all, it is not likely that he woke up one morning and thought, “I have an idea! I’ll give everybody a raise when I get to work today!” So when I visited the company website I went to their About Us page. Right there, in the middle of the page, I found my answer-a quote from Dan Price.
“Every one of my teammates is a leader. Together we inspire growth through learning and bold action, relentlessly pushing the bar higher.” Dan Price
In these two sentences there are three key competencies that make him an inspirational leader-a leader who has a great team of employees that he wanted to reward:
People Champion - Dan Price refers to his employees as teammates. A people champion values his employees and cares about them. By providing the salary increases to his employees, he not only changed their lives by providing greater financial stability, he made a statement of support for them as individuals.
Empowering – Mr. Price identifies his employees as leaders. By declaring each employee is a leader, he is empowering them to do just that – lead the growth of the organization and not stand by and rely on his title as founder & CEO for the company’s success. A leader who empowers his employees gives them the latitude to share ideas, take risks, and innovate through “bold action.”
Visionary Leadership – We’ve all heard the term “raising the bar” at some point in our careers. A visionary leader continues to strive for the next level of achievement. He understands the potential for success and inspires others through his actions to realize that potential as well - he inspires growth.
Not every company CEO can offer such a lavish benefit to their employees. And even if they could, it is important for leaders to recognize that salary increases alone don’t make happy employees. It is the leadership competencies that are exhibited everyday within the organization that will inevitably keep employees energized, engaged, and focused.