There is a belief among economic gurus, workplace coaches, and financial advisers that the success of a company usually depends on how executives present themselves, not only during times of success, but also times of sacrifice. This concept is what separates bosses from leaders. A boss will observe the workers from a place of comfort, sacrificing the hired help over one’s luxuries. Leaders, however, will work with their employees, sometimes setting the example.
In that sense, Haruka Nishimatsu, the CEO of Japan Airlines, is a true leader. His executive example is a model that other executives need to follow, especially those in the United States.
According to an article by True Activist, Haruka Nishimatsu lives by a philosophy that to be a leader, one must not act like a ruler of their company. In the wake of Japan Airlines’ economic depression, Nishimatsu has sacrificed many of his big corporate perks so he can create a stronger, more dedicated workforce.
“If management is distant, up in the clouds, people just wait for orders. I want my people to think for themselves.”
To understand how much Haruka Nishimatsu sacrificed prospects of a general CEO lifestyle, all one has to do is observe him. Instead of driving in style, he takes the public bus to work. Instead of wearing expensive executive suits, he buys his from a discount shop. As a matter of fact, Nishimatsu significantly lowered his salary to just $90,000 when profits were down one year, just so he could avoid downsizing employees or cutting their pay.
Once again, this goes back to the view of leadership in association of their company’s state. When employees work for someone who is afraid to get their hands dirty for the benefit of the whole, it is more difficult for said employees to be passionate about their work. Also, when broke, underpaid workers notice executives indulging in extravagant expenses, they become discontent with their own position. Ultimately, executives with a boss mentality destroy their companies, often begging for bailouts from the government when they haven’t sacrificed themselves.
Originally, this story aired over five years ago on CBS News. The reason why it is getting attention again is the fact that in 2014, certain businesses aimed for a bailout, specifically two Chinese corporations in danger of defaulting. This is monumental news in economics because China has been reportedly been doing better financially than any other country in the world today, for the last five years.
In conclusion, Haruka Nishimatsu has set the example for how a CEO, or any executive for that matter, should conduct themselves in an economic depression, one that may be effecting their business directly. Today, Nishimatsu is no longer associated with Japan Airlines, but he is a member of the Board of Governors for the International Air Transport Association, as detailed by Bloomberg.
The video of Haruka Nishimatsu’s example of being a true leader for Japan Airlines is attached below. It does include more examples of how he made sure to keep up morale among those who worked with him.
[Image via Japan Airlines]