Starbucks Billionaire Howard Schultz To Oprah: It’s OK For Men To Cry (Even CEOs)

Maya Angelou. Eckhart Tolle. And now Howard Schultz. The billionaire CEO of might not be seem an obvious choice for talk show queen Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday self-help show, but that’s where you’ll find him this Sunday, talking about his rise from Brooklyn’s housing projects to the helm of the biggest coffee chain on the planet. Fellow billionaire Winfrey shared two exclusive clips of the Starbucks mogul’s interview with Forbes (see below). In the first, he discusses the importance of being vulnerable as a leader. He tells Winfrey he committed what’s normally seen as a faux pas, especially for men in the business world: he cried in front of his entire company. It was 2008, the height of the recession, and he’d returned to the CEO role at Starbucks just as the chain was going through a rough patch. More than 600 Starbucks stores closed their doors, with subsequent massive layoffs (approximately 12,000 workers lost their jobs). “When I stood up in front of people and I apologized, I started crying, in that first week,” Schultz tells Winfrey, who responds that men especially are taught not to shed tears in a public setting. Schultz equated his moment of vulnerability with transparency, a key attribute in business leaders. “I think the currency of leadership is transparency,” says Schultz. “You’ve got to be truthful. I don’t think you should be vulnerable every day, but there are moments where you’ve got to share your soul and conscience with people and show them who you are, and not be afraid of it.” In the second clip, also part of this Sunday’s program, Schultz shares one of his core philosophies: “Don’t be threatened by people smarter than you.” “You can’t build any kind of organization if you’re not going to surround yourself with people who have experience and skill base beyond your own,” he tells Winfrey, adding that ensuring employees share “like-minded values” is crucial. “I think when you discover perhaps that these people do not have those values then you have to have a very quick conversation,” says the famously progressive Schultz, who has long supported equal rights and recently admonished a shareholder who questioned the company’s position on gay marriage. “If they don’t demonstrate that kind of behavior…not everyone deserves to be on the team.” “Short term success is not going to bring long term value to everyone,” he adds. “We live in an age where everything is based on the short term.” Watch Schultz’s full interview with Winfrey on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s Super Soul Sunday on Sunday, December 8 at 11 am EST/PST.

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