MOMENTS OF TRUTH: GLOBAL EXECUTIVES TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES THAT SHAPED THEM AS LEADERS
What qualities do you have to ensure that you are a great leader? The success and qualities of a company could also be reflected in the leader’s own career.
Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo CEO of Nokia, in Espoo, Finland, since June 2006.
Humility is an important quality in any leader, just as it is for a company. Their humility has to have the mission to listen to the customer and seek ideas from outside. In a management team, that responsiveness is a product of diversity—managers must humbly accept that their own perspectives need to be broadened by others’. Courage and humility go hand in hand and complement each other.
Gary Jackson president of Blackwater USA, a private military contractor and security firm based in Moyock, North Carolina.
One way to promote an entrepreneurial culture within the company is to encourage employees to work on projects that stimulate making or saving money. Having this type of culture or any engaging company culture can really portray what a company really values internally.
Franz Humer is the chairman and CEO of the pharmaceutical firm Roche, based in Basel, Switzerland.
A leader should know the most optimal way to balance being a singular entity in decision making for their business and making those difficult team decisions. However taking your team’s perspective on internal issues can lead to doubt. There are times when a leader consults his team on decisions to grow the company and they will present everything that could go wrong with that decision. Sometimes the leader has to trust their own judgement and take risks.
Becoming hyperaware of the company’s environment and learning to sense the vibe in the room in different settings of the business, especially in a negotiation setting. Taking into consideration the behavior and body language of the person you are giving you attention to and just be aware of the other party’s intentions.
Arthur Gensler founded Gensler—a global architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm—41 years ago
A company is the product of its employees. “It takes a star to get the project, a star to design the project, a star to document the design, a star to build it, a star to collect fees, and a star to run the business behind them. We’ve built a team culture where we are all stars, no matter what role we play on a project.”
Sergey Petrov the founder and sole owner of the $2.4 billion Rolf Group, Russia’s largest foreign car importer and distributor.
Sometime leaders must take the proactive approach instead of waiting to go into decline. If you can see the limitations in a situation, you can act to transcend them.
Alan Klapmeier cofounded Cirrus Design, a Duluth, Minnesota–based manufacturer of private aircraft
You have to have passion to do something industry changing—and not only because there are so many skeptics and doubters. You also need it to get you through all the setbacks. In so many businesses, there’s a tendency anytime something goes wrong to abandon the whole approach and go in another direction. There’s not enough passion, or perseverance, or conviction that the basic idea is right.
Alexander B. Cummings president and chief operating officer of the Coca-Cola Company’s Africa Group
As a leader being able to take important risks that could eventually save a company are very vital. Sometimes a company must deal with short term loss in order to survive in the long run. These decisions can be hard for a leader because this is putting their careers on the line. The pressure of decisions to change prices of a product for the benefit of the company on the long run. However as a leader, you must be able to stick with your decisions and not cave into pressure even if the things aren’t looking too good.
Duleep Aluwihare is the managing partner at the accounting firm Ernst & Young in Warsaw, Poland.
No matter how successful you may think your company is doing, it can all go south in a matter of months. Success shouldn’t dictate the confidence one has for the company. The feeling of being over confident can easily lead to arrogance. A true leader must know how to manage arrogance so it does not go to their head. However, if you do fall into an arrogant personality there are things you must fix within the company. Learn how to regain clients respect, rebuild the trust of others and support them during good and bad times. The most important lesson is to never overestimate the strength of personal involvement in the daily work of a team, because success springs from team’s work.
Also actions to take if there is a feeling of arrogance are to set high standards for you and everyone in the company. Lead and give instructions but also work with your people, and create a culture in which employees can make their own decisions.