After writing The Behaviour of Inspiring Leaders, I found other mentions on the issue of leadership:

“Sparking Employee Passion” was the title to an article I read in Business Matters, here. “The key to passionate performance is found within the hearts and minds of employees where their basic human needs are fulfilled”, says Lee Colan for It’s a simple but powerful formula: When their needs are fulfilled, they are engaged and perform at their peak ability. When their needs are not met, they are frustrated, out of control, unfocused, and disconnected. In a word, disengaged.

Yesterday, Justin King the CEO at Sainsbury’s announced he was leaving. “I don’t think the idea of a fresh food-focused grocery business, concentrating on great products at fair prices runs out of steam in 18 months.”  So said Justin King, CEO at Sainsbury’s, when Fiona Briggs, Editor, Retail Times interviewed him back in 2006 to share the progress the supermarket had made at the start of its journey in “Making Sainsbury’s Great Again”.  His track record as Sainsbury’s leader is more than impressive. Sainsbury’s operating profit has increased by 59% to £829m, turnover has risen 67% to £24.1bn and total store numbers more than doubled to 1,213 during his tenure. You could say that Sainsbury’s has stuck to its knitting and it’s paid off.

Chris Stokel-Walker on BBC News had something to say about Justin King as a leader, here, yesterday.  He set out five ways Justin King has turned Sainsbury’s around:

1. Looking inwards: In a sign of his mentality he concentrated on making the basics work.

2. Keep building: In 2004, as King took over as chief executive, Sainsbury’s had 583 stores. He’ll leave it with double that number.

3. Remembering that convenience is key: King leaves the company with more smaller stores than supermarkets, having managed to foresee that the way that Britons shop has changed.

4. Quality/value balance: Until 1995, Sainsbury’s was the supermarket of choice for Britons. Then Tesco changed the face of re=tail. Sainsbury’s has managed to surpass Asda to regain the number two spot, with a 17% market share (though still a long way behind Tesco, which has 29% of the market according to Kantar Worldpanel).

5. Keeping big names: The era of the celebrity chef proved helpful for Sainsbury’s under King.

This coming weekend, two leaders will meet. Afterwards, we will discover who the better leader was. Their styles are quite different. One is fast and creative. The other is methodical, and incredibly precise. One is a brave, young firebrand, and the other is an older, seasoned expert. The meeting will take place on 2 February 2014 at 6:30 PM ET, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey when Seattle Seahawks will play the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, the highest level of professional American football in the United States. The game will pit the NFL’s best offense (the Denver Broncos) against the best defense (the Seattle Seahawks).

The Super Bowl remains the biggest mass-market advertising event in the USA. It will provide the answer on who is the better leader. The last four Super Bowls have been the four most watched television shows in America. This Super Bowl, called XLVIII, should beat previous records and have as many as 115 million viewers. I think I read that a 15-second slot on TV during the game will set you back $3m.

Martin Pollins
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