Leadership Evaluation and Leadership Philosophy

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For a company like Starbucks that is so widely known and patronized by loyal customers, if loyalty is measured in regular repeat business, its reputation is only average. (Danziger, 2018). Making it very important to keep their customer service standards high for their guest and maintain a welcoming environment for all customers who visit. Unfortunately, in Philadelphia a Store manager at the local Starbucks had called 911 on two African American men who were not customers, but just happened to be waiting for their friends at the Starbucks. They were escorted from the establishment with excessive force from the law officer and while all this was happening it had been recorded from bystanders, then uploaded on to social media. With it now being on social media and going viral, it caused an uproar across the web and in the black community. Which caused protesting and black lash for the local police Department, CEO of Starbucks and the brand itself.

So, CEO Kevin Johnson jumped right on the issue and rather than putting the blame on the local Starbucks manager, Johnson handled the debacle in a most conscientious, responsible way. He and his executive team, including executive chairman Howard Schultz, got on a plane to Philadelphia to meet with the young men involved, local police and civic leaders to address the situation head on. (Danziger, 2018) The result was to do a nationwide closing of 8,000 stores in the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias education among its 175,000 employees. This program will be developed by experts including former Attorney General Eric Holder, the Equal Justice Initiative, NAACP, Demos and the Anti-Defamation League. It will further be added to the company’s training program for all new employees.

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This swift and decisive action is what one would expect from a company whose mission statement is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” (Danziger, 2018) I think the actions of CEO Kevin Johnson’s to recognize the issue, take responsibility, and show the correct actions are being taken. Johnson’s statements and the company’s response were adequate to handle the situation. The leadership of Starbucks style is a blend of democratic and transformational leadership, defined as the kind of leadership that lets employees freely voice out their opinion and input meanwhile, the latter kind of leadership is the kind of leadership that upholds morale. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders. Transformational leaders also have high motivation and a clear vision, which they share openly with their teams. (Chris, 2015)

In my Self-Assessment assignment I mentioned another form of leadership which I agree that would tie back into this assignment. Because adaptive leadership separates important aspects of a business operation from what can be discarded, people who use adaptive leadership tend to see organizations not as mechanical, rigid structures but as systems where everyone constantly interacts and impacts each other. As the business climate changes, so must employees, business processes and leadership’s approach. (Grashow & Heifetz, 2009) No one can come up with the solution to every problem, Adaptive leadership uses all employees and customers in order to find solutions that work. I know if I can’t understand where my employees and customers are coming from, you will have a difficult time meeting their needs. I also understand that i need to treat employees with empathy and compassion to ensure they stay and help you foster business success.


  1. Chris, J. (2015, September 16). 4 starbucks leadership style precepts. Retrieved from Joseph Chris Driving Business Connections: www.josephchris.com/4-starbucks-leadership-style-precepts
  2. Danziger, P. (2018, April 25). Starbucks Needs A Reputation Boost: Will Closing For Racial-Bias Education Do It? Retrieved from forbes: www.forbes.com/sites/pamdanziger/2018/04/25/starbucks-needs-a-reputation-boost-will-closing-for-racial-bias-education-do-it/#57c7780e397e
  3. Grashow, A., & Heifetz, R. (2009). The Practice of Adaptive Leadership. Harvard Business Press.

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