The leadership landscape has changed a lot over the last two decades. A culture of management through process and hierarchy has given way to a culture of servant leadership through collaboration and co-creation. Jacques de Beer, CEO of a leading South African BPO and financial services provider, Talksure says, “The ability to truly lead highly successful and highly competent teams are fundamental in exploding business growth. I’ve started my own businesses, grown others’ and developed a successful career in corporate and through it all I have grown as a leader and into a leader that inspires my people to play big.”
Jacques gives 4 greatest lessons he has learnt along his leadership journey:
1. Even a weaker team can win if their hearts and souls are in it:
Understanding your purpose and your organisation’s ‘why’ is fundamental in casing vision and inspiring your people. Enroll your team into a shared purpose which should hopefully be bigger than any one individual can achieve. Furthermore, if you live that purpose yourself, they will follow. Find out what drives your team and from there you will be able to connect their way of being to your organisational purpose, allowing you to unlock boundless opportunities.
2. A good leader is also a good follower:
This is where most leaders hit a brick wall. True leadership is about creating the environment that unlocks the potential for success and innovation in your team. Allow your team to take the lead. Make sure that they have what they need and watch what happens when they are given autonomy. You cannot fake this. Sometimes you may not agree with everything, but you have to be willing to be schooled by your team.
3. Select people that are better than you especially in their field of expertise:
This is where ego needs to take a back seat. Some leaders are threatened by people with more skills than themselves because they may feel insecure or inadequate – or even worse believe they always know best. That unfortunately means that the team can never be better than the leader, at his worst. It’s scary to place that kind of talent on your executive team because they will expect extraordinary leadership. Surrounded by strong people, highly skilled at what they do, you’d better be prepared to be challenged every day. If you don’t do it though, you will never win.
4. As above so below:
A leader of any team – especially one leading a winning team – needs to embody the attitude and behaviors they want their team to display. Your people saturate in your way of being more than they retain anything you say, so you need to ensure that the way you behave aligns with what you say and what you do. You have to be aware of that fact that whatever you model will be echoed through to the lowest rungs in your organisation because as the leader, you set the tone. You cannot escape this even on your ‘off’ day. Always be aware of your own behavior, because before you know it everyone will mimic it.
“Leadership takes strength, wisdom and above all the courage to be authentic and true to yourself. Give your team permission to be the same and create an environment where the impossible, becomes possible. It is our mandate as leaders to keep pushing the envelope and equipping our teams to be successful. The bigger the dream, the more vital the team.” Jacques concludes.