Best Buy’s CEO says he uses 5 criteria to decide whether someone’s a leader

Best Buy‘s CEO has five criteria to determine whether someone is a leader.

“I’ve spelled out the five ‘be’s of leadership,” CEO and chairman Hubert Joly told Business Insider. “I think it resonates with what we’re trying to do.”

Joly has led Best Buy’s turnaround efforts since taking on the role of CEO in 2012. By all accounts, his work has paid off, with the company’s share price increasing 271% over the past five years. Best Buy reported that comparable sales grew 5.6% in fiscal 2018.

According to Joly, reducing turnover and promoting internal leadership in the Best Buy workforce has been a major part of the company’s recent success. As Best Buy develops its leaders, here are the “be”s that Joly says every leader needs to meet.

1. Be a purposeful leader

“Be clear about your purpose in life, what drives you, and make sure it’s connected with the purpose of the company,” he said.

If you’re driven by making money or career advancement, that’s fine for some roles. But, many people want a deeper purpose in their career. You need to make sure that your purpose lines up with that of where you work.

“Most of us want to do something meaningful,” Joly said. “We want to live a purposeful life.”

2. Be clear about your role as a leader

“Do you believe your role as leaders is to be the smartest person in the room, and make sure everybody knows that?” Joly asked. “Or is it to create an environment in which others can be successful and, you know, blossom and flourish and so forth?”

Most companies need a leader who is willing to help others succeed — even if it doesn’t immediately benefit the leader.

3. Be clear about who you’re serving

A good leader is focused on serving the customers, not the boss, Joly believes.

“If you believe you’re serving the servants, meaning people on the front line, and your role is to help them be successful, then you’ve got it,” he said.

4. Be a values-driven leader

“Integrity is really important,” Joly said.

Joly admits that some of his criteria can sound like “propaganda.” However, he says that proof is in the results. As a result of an emphasis on ethical, values-driven leadership, turnover at Best Buy has significantly decreased over the last five years.

“These numbers with turnover and employee satisfaction, really, would not happen if we’re just going to tell people, ‘Be happy,’ ” Joly said.

5. Be an authentic leader

Joly’s final leadership criteria is being yourself.

“Work-life balance almost has the connotation that your work is not part of your life,” Joly said. “So you can be an a–, the most terrible person at work, and then you can be the most wonderful person outside — it makes no sense.”

Instead, people should strive to be their full, authentic selves at all times.

Kate Taylor is a retail reporter for Business Insider. She has previously covered food and franchises for Entrepreneur. Find her on Twitter @Kate_H_Taylor.

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