By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you strengthen your partnerships. Reading time: 4:42.
As a reporter with the Miami Herald in 1975, I met Jackie Gleason in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when he was promoting a professional golf tournament, the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic. He was honing his golf swing to host President Jerry Ford in a celebrity round with legendary entertainer Bob Hope and the greatest professional golfer at the time, Jack Nicklaus.
And that sunny February morning Jackie Gleason taught me a leadership lesson I never expected and never have forgotten over these last 37 yearsl
The Great One. That’s what the television entertainment world called Jackie Gleason. And no wonder. After all, he hosted television programs in the 1950s-60s that dominated the airwaves —from The Honeymooners to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS — and made loud-mouth Ralph Kramden the most famous bus driver in New York.
In fact, the first time I heard Jackie Gleason’s voice live and in person on the golf course, he sounded more like the boisterous and cantakerous Ralph Kramden in the The Honeymooners who would yell at his wife: “Straight to the Moon, Alice.”
Jackie Gleason was mad as hell. He stood about 50 yards away from me on the driving range. Gleason yelled at my photographer to stop taking photos (“Hey Pal, not now!”). The Great One demanded to be left alone to concentrate on his golf swing.
By the time I could intervene and introduce myself as something more than a pesky fan, I figured Ralph Kramden would also kick me “straight to the moon” when I requested an interview. Maybe I could hope he’d settle for just making one of his patented threats: “One of these days… POW!!! Right in the kisser!” I was wrong. In fact, Jackie Gleason taught me a lesson in leadership that surprised me, especially after I saw first hand how self-absorbed and arrogant he appeared to be based in his personal behavior during a practice round of golf. Continue reading