Airtel Nigeria CEO Shares Practical Tips for Effective Leadership
By Ahmed Rahma
The Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, a leading mobile telecommunications company in the country, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, has offered practical tips leaders can adopt to succeed in trying times like the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Mr Ogunsanya, who identified strategies for leading during turbulent times at the recently concluded Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Business Roundtable, empathy, purpose, vision, integrity are key qualities good leaders must possess during stormy times.
He called on business leaders to cultivate these qualities to be able to overcome challenges and unforeseen circumstances that might hinder the success of the company.
The Managing Director said leaders must never be in denial whenever there is a crisis, noting that business managers and chief executives must be bold, decisive and should immediately confront any crisis situation while demonstrating the ability to handle the complex situation.
Mr Ogunsanya stated that the ability to demonstrate empathy as a leader is essential at a time where feelings of uncertainty are at an all-time high, stressing the need for leaders to confront reality and not lose the essence of the organisation’s purpose during disruptive times.
On the importance of good communication skills, the CEO stated that every leader should be able to clearly communicate the company’s purpose and vision, identifying this as an avenue to demonstrate commitment whilst creating an opportunity to develop and grow a relationship with people within the firm.
He said, “Good leadership involves communicating effectively. As an individual occupying a leadership position, most especially during a turbulent period, you need to constantly communicate with your people.
“It is important to leave the communication channels open. By communicating, you’re not only building trust but also opening an avenue for collective contributions and this will drive engagement and solutions”.
Speaking further, he explained the essence of maintaining integrity in a workplace, stating that a good leader must uphold strong moral and ethical principles, including honesty, loyalty, dependability and sound judgement.
He went on to advise leaders not to be afraid to show vulnerability as it reflects humanity and compassion.
“Showing vulnerability as a leader is not a sign of weakness, it is simply being human. An honest leader should be able to show vulnerability whilst also demonstrating compassion.
“One of the ways you can show compassion during turbulent times is by offering employees the opportunity to choose to work at home or select days in which they can work physically at the office.
“Empathy and compassion not only inspire your people but also help in building a collaborative environment,” he said.