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Good Leaders: How has goodness made life better for you?

The 1980s TV Show Cheers, featured the lovable character “Norm” – who felt like his boss was always chewing at his backside.

Thank heavens leadership styles have changed. For readers around my age (that’s 55), perhaps you will remember this: A recurring joke on the popular 1980s NBC sitcom Cheers comes from the voice of the beleaguered accountant Norm, who frequents the fictional Boston bar named Cheers. One exchange is particularly memorable and relevant to our Goodness Pays discussion:

“Hey, what’s happening Norm?” asks Cheers owner and bartender, Sam Malone.

“It’s a dog-eat-dog world, Sammy, and I’m wearing Milk-Bone underwear,” Norm shares, to huge studio audience laughter. The implication is that the leaders who are Norm’s employers are constantly biting his backside like dogs gnawing at their favorite treats. It’s funny!

The Demise of “Dog-Eat-Dog” Leadership

We expect our new book to be out in the fall of this year. We emphatically make the claim that goodness pays financially in leadership and business today.

We should all be glad that more than 30 years after this episode of Cheers aired, effective leadership styles have evolved. Employees and customers regularly capture smartphone videos of bad boss behaviors and share them on the Internet. And employee complaints on online sharing sites like can taint a company’s, or manager’s, reputation instantly. While a dog-eat-dog, survivalist leadership style that Norm joked about might work over the short-term, it clearly does not pay today over the long-term. Would you want to work for a company or boss like Norm described if you knew in advance, through online or social media, your boss would be gnawing at your backside? Of course not!

On the other hand, if you are one of the skeptics who actually believes that tyrannical leadership still works in this day and age, what evidence do you have that this style of leadership actually pays off over the long run? The answer is: none.

A Message for Young and Old Leaders

I chose this message today for two reasons: the passage above is part of the content we are finishing for the How Goodness Pays book. My summer has been consumed with finishing this book – both for me and for YOU!  The second reason is for the young leaders who will be joining us at the Good Leadership Breakfast this week. My mentor and colleague J. Allen, who is CEO of Masters Alliance, invented the Masters Alliance Young Leaders Good Leadership Breakfast – which is this Friday. He and I want the young leaders to know that “dog-eat-dog” leadership is not sustainable. While it may pay in the short term…the only thing that really pays is goodness.

Good leaders know the dog-eat-dog survivalist leadership style won’t work anymore. And they go out of their way to teach young leaders that only goodness pays.

Please share with me: How has goodness made life better for you?

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