Joel Manby is president and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFE). He was featured on the hit CBS reality-TV series Undercover Boss, where he and the employees of HFE demonstrated their unique approach to leadership to millions of viewers. Joel is the author of Love Works. He and his wife, Marki, have four daughters and live in suburban Atlanta.
What he Said … A Different Kind of Leadership
More than 18 million viewers saw HFE's episode of Undercover Boss, making it the highest-rated program on CBS that week and the second most popular show on any network, trailing only American Idol. People who witnessed our employees in action wanted us to know that they wished their own places of work were more like what they had seen on Undercover Boss—in other words, more respectful, cooperative, joyful and, well, more loving.
The most satisfying part about appearing on Undercover Boss was that it confirmed the wise management philosophy that the leaders at HFE had been nurturing for half a century: leading with love.
Leading with love is counterintuitive in today's business environment because it turns many so-called leadership principles upside-down. Yet the outpouring of support from people who had never even heard of HFE convinced me that while we might be doing something slightly crazy by leading with love, we were also doing something that people were hungry to be part of.