five minute interview: karen de-merist, manpower group

What is the most important attribute of a business leader? 

Qualities traditionally associated with leadership—such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision—are required for success, but they are insufficient. Truly effective leaders are distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

What is your guiding principle?

I see this as a number of things; being respectful to others, being accountable personally, communicating with others – internally and externally, valuing differences in people, encouraging colleagues, focused on results and collaborating with others.

If you hadn’t gone into business, what might you have done instead?

Not entirely sure, I was lucky business found me when I was not really sure what direction to go in. I found myself in an organisation that provided me with opportunities and I have never looked back, right up to the current day with a position on the board of directors.

What advice would you give your children in business?

1. You are 100% responsible for how your life turns out. What you make out of your life, your happiness, your relationships, your success, your health, your wealth, everything is in your hand.

2. Educate yourself. Education is one of the best things to make sure you will head into the right direction in life. Get a great education and also learn all by yourself about what fascinates you. Find your passion in life and check if you can make a living from it.

Carpe Diem means ‘seize the day’. Set goals but never forget to live now.

3. Be active in developing yourself by learning, having goals in life and building your self-awareness. Know yourself beyond your thoughts and beliefs. Your mind is the tool, not the master. You can be your true self if you quiet the mind and feel what is beyond your mental stream. Carpe Diem means ‘seize the day’. Set goals but never forget to live now.

What do your employees say about you?

That I am respectful to them, accountable personally, that I communicate with them, that I value the differences in my teams, that I encourage them, that I am focused on results, that I collaborate with others and above all have the attributes of a great business leader.

 


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