business news in context, analysis with attitude has an interview with Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy, who talks about his management style as the company prepares to make its initial foray to the US. Excerpts:

On working in a Tesco store at least one week a year: “If you want to know what work is like at Tesco you don't find it sitting in an office. You actually find out by going into the store and doing that work and I'm reminded how hard people work and how well they work. It's good work and I learn a lot and I bring some ideas back here to the office.”

On empowering employees: “I think working in Tesco and working with people has taught me that of course the important thing is what you cause other people to do rather than what you do yourself. And so over time you learn that it's much more about motivating and inspiring other people and challenging other people to do more, to do things differently… I believe a lot in people. I believe a lot in the potential of people. So I've never lost that belief that people are capable of incredible things if you give them the confidence and opportunity.”

On his definition of leadership: “You want confidence. And I like that definition of a leader as someone who takes you further than you would go on your own. So it's somebody who you want to listen to and somebody who makes you feel good about yourself and about your capability and gives you the courage and the optimism to take on a challenge and succeed…I think that people have got to want to follow you and I think that has a lot to do with not what you say but really your value system and people actually watch what you do more than what you say. And if you can be consistent over time and what you say is what you then go out and do I think people see that and they start to trust you.”
KC's View:
We spent yesterday afternoon speaking at the Food Marketing Institute Human Resources conference in Montreal (where we are writing MNB this morning), and believe that Leahy is absolutely right on in his assessment of how to lead.

The food industry faces many challenges in the form of changing consumers, changing technologies and shifting priorities over the next few years, and we believe that retailers may have on staff the people who may have the answers to how to deal with these changes. Right now, they are bagging groceries or stocking shelves, but they understand the digital economy and the new world order in intimate ways that we can only imagine.

The trick is to identify and access those talents. Now. Because time is running out.