CEO: "Love Works" in Leadership

The "Undercover Boss" and president and CEO of the company that operates Stone Mountain Park talks about the principles he outlines in his new book, "Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles For Effective Leaders."

Joel Manby, president and CEO of the company that operates , has been an "Undercover Boss" on the CBS show, getting hands-on experience of certain jobs at Herschend Family Entertainment properties.

Now Manby is also an author. His recently published book is “Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles For Effective Leaders."

"It's not love the emotion," he explained. "It's not how you feel. It's love the verb. It’s how you behave toward somebody."

The book royalties have been assigned to the company's Share It Forward program which helps employees in need, he said.

He said the Bible passage from 1 Cor:13 provides a foundation for leadership. Being patient, kind, truthful, unselfish, trusting, forgiving and dedicated can go a very long way: "Within each of those seven words are three to five principles on how readers can put that in practical applications - how these principles come to life."

Manby spent 20 years in the auto industry, including as CEO of Saab North America and one of the founders of Saturn in the 1980s. "No one ever taught me how love was a leadership principle," he said.

But Manby said he sees the principles at work at Herschend.  For example, unselfishness is demonstrated through Share It Forward, he said. Employees can donate as little as $1 or up to $5,000 to the program, and Herschend Family Entertainment matches donations dollar for dollar.

"Unselfishness is a huge player in ths program," Manby said. "It starts with the employees' unselfishness."

And when Manby speaks of using patience, he makes it clear what that means: "Not patience with poor performance, but patience in how you deal with it," Manby said. "Don’t go nuts on them in public."

Dedication comes in because "you have to be dedicated to these principles even when times are tough," Manby said. He said 350 jobs were saved a few years ago by upper management taking pay cuts and pay freezes for everyone else.

As for his Undercover Boss experience -- which included a stint as a server and working on the the popular Ride the Ducks attraction -- Manby said he learned more than the demands of park jobs. The episode first aired in 2010.

"The first thing I learned is how incredible our employees are," he said. "The second thing I knew is how important our culture is and how critical our culture is."

"The third thing is the biggest surprise, the incredible response to the show," he said. "I was overwhelmed with letters and e-mails from people all over the country and all over the world."


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