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Leadership Qualities

REI CEO’s Reddit AMA Response Shows Admirable Leadership Qualities

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Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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iStock_000023365292_Small-2REI has sure been stirring up news lately. First they announced their closure on Black Friday, and on Tuesday the CEO took to Reddit’s AMA.

As the CEO of a national company, participating in an AMA can be risky business. You never know what questions will come your way. And you’ll never know if a former employee will come back to bite your brand.

It wasn’t long until one employee came forward questioning REI’s practice of measuring employee performance solely based on number of membership sales:

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At first it appeared that Stritzke overlooked this question that quickly became the top comment. Things may have gotten a little ugly in the Reddit world. But Stritzke’s response was one that made some commenters wish they had bit their tongue.

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So why are we gushing after the CEO’s response?

1. He’s holding himself accountable

Instead of just completely avoiding this question, he acknowledged /u/annonemp’s question — reassuring this former employee that he has seen the complaint. And after sleeping on it, Stritzke is holding himself accountable for the company having “lost sight of the bigger picture.”

2. He listens to feedback

Employee feedback — current or former — needs to be taken to heart. These are the people who are on the front line and are directly impacted by policies and procedures that are created by (dare I say) executives who are (dare I say) often out of touch with the grunt work.

3. He’s willing to change

Listening to feedback is one thing. But listening and not doing anything about the feedback is pretty much the same as not listening at all. The fact that he’s willing to dig further into the situation and find a solution means that he doesn’t view his employees as just cogs in the machine.

4. He values his company’s mission

He acknolwedges that the company may have diverted from their true mission and vision by using a push co-op model. Your customers need to also believe in your company’s vision in order to succeed.

A true leader is open and honest with their employees. So keep on listening to the people, Stritzke. It may not always be good, but you can’t build a great company without these folks.

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Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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