“Learnings of a Leader – The Unknown Leader”
When a person wants to develop other people, to support them, to motivate them to become better themselves, that is performance. Determination. The motivation of a team leader. I say this because we as club know how important the power of the example is.
Ciprian Radu is our new partner. He will be managing together with our amazing team, a part of the Sponsorship & Relationship with Partners Department. But this is not all!
Recently he wrote a book called “Learnings of a Leader – The Unknown Leader“, in which he talks about leadership. We had the opportunity to discuss with him more details in an interview.
What made you write this book?
I don’t think that there was a particular thing that made me start writing this book. It was not something that I had in plan for years and decided that now it’s the moment. It all came somehow into place without having everything setup or planned form the beginning. And I believe that this is actually the beauty of life. You have no idea where you will be in two or five years from now and what will you be doing. You can plan as much as you want but there will always be that unknown factor which might change your plans completely. A five seconds conversation with someone can change your perspective on life completely.
The book did not have a starting point only the idea to start writing. Everything began by just writing things down without having in mind to write a book. I received an advice from someone, and I told myself that I should write this down so that I will not forget it. And then slowly but steady, another advices received, another page, another life lesson heard, another chapter, another person meet, another story in what eventually I decided to turn into a book.
But looking back if I were to choose something that motivated me to actually write a book and not just a ideas on a piece of paper, it was all the amazing lesson, the great advice’s, the unbelievable life stories that I heard from the beautiful people, that I had the honor to meet, work with and learn from. I wanted to have place where I could capture all these things that helped me a lot during my professional career and not only. I wanted to create some sort of legacy of all the things and stories that made me realise what leadership actually is but not only. I can say now that the book is like a puzzle of ideas, stories, lessons that do not need to be put in a specific order but that have behind some amazing people.
The title chosen for any article or book is extremely important. What / Who motivated you to choose the title?
I simply wanted the title “Learnings of a Leader” to tell the future reader exactly what this book is. Nothing complicated, nothing out of the ordinary. Plain and simple. You read the title and you already have an idea what to expect. And the subtitle “The Unknown Leader” is in the memory of all those people which most of them were not even in leadership roles and without even knowing it they helped me understand what leadership, working with people and even life is all about.
You work in a big company, with over 60,000 employees. The department, of which you belong, has 4 big teams. What is the significance of leadership there for you?
For me personally the significance of leadership there is the significance of leadership everywhere. The game has changed a lot in the past years and so has the significance of leadership in general, not just in a company or the other.
A few years back a leader was that person which everyone feared, that person who was very hard to reach to, that person with very limited time on the agenda who was always traveling and making powerful business deals, a leader was that apparently very strong person who was fully focused on numbers and bringing the best results without caring how as long as the results came.
Now leadership is something else. Now the significance of leadership is about what you can do as a leader to have a positive impact on the people you work with, to make their lives better, to help them realise the potential they have, to help them achieve what they considered to be impossible, to help others become leaders if that is what they choose to do. The true significance of leadership is to inspire people to achieve greatness, to inspire them to create a better world. A leader is before anything else a servant to those who choose to follow him. And those who choose to follow him can be from different areas not just “his direct reports”. Other leaders, people who have never meet him, the customers of a company, the people from his team, people for other companies and so on so forth, can be part of the group that choose to follow a leader. And to all of them the leader needs to be a servant. So to sum up, I believe that the true significance of leadership is to be a servant to those who choose to follow him/her, to deliver the best business solutions possible by helping others achieve greatness while trying to create a better world.
For which chapter of this book did you make the most effort? Why?
I do not think that there was a chapter where I had to make an effort per say. Like I’ve mentioned before I was just focusing at first on writing things down on a piece of paper. The fact that what I’ve written down ended up in a book is more a bonus level, I might say, if it’s ok to joke.
The effort was in general not just for a particular chapter. The effort was to be able to capture the true essence in a very simply way of all the ideas, thoughts and experiences that I had to face during my career and during my life.
As the team leader of a team in a multinational corporation, I know you have plans to motivate your team-people, to meet their goals. What is the chapter in this book that refers to these actions that each leader should take in a team?
The entire book is basically structured so that it is like a guidebook or manual of skills, stories, values that can support a leader to take different actions and allow the leader to learn how to deal with different situations so that he/she can eventually help his/her team achieve more, develop in their careers and meet their goals. No book will tell you exactly how to be successful when working with people, as there is no magic recipe that will show you exactly what actions you need to take and when so that it all runs perfectly without any risks.
There are different chapters from the book that someone can choose to agree with or use with their teams. But there are also different chapter that some might say that are completely false and useless. What works for one may not work for the other which is why I am a bit hesitant to recommend a particular action to someone without knowing the story. Each person is unique and what may work with one will not work for the other. The first pages of the book tell you the following:
“You can feel free to take from this book what you like and what you want. I do not want you to follow everything that is written here. Again… You can choose!”
But if I were to recommend just a few chapters from the top of my mind it would be: “Be present”, “Trust”, “Respect”, “I have you back should not be just words”, “Failure is learning” “Obedience is not loyalty”, “What comes first”, “Empathy” etc.
How could you describe in a few words the strengths of a leader? What makes a great leader?
I will respond here separately to these questions as I believe that these two questions require two different answers.
To the first question related to the strengths of a leader; I don’t think that a few words are enough as the list of what makes a leader strong is quite long. I believe that any leader needs to develop the following core values or skills: dedication, trust, humbleness, empathy, equity, integrity, adaptability, honesty, decisiveness, loyalty, respect, which he should be able to apply into all areas of his/her control. It sounds a bit complicated and close to impossible to have all of this but if I were to make it easier, I think that the strength of a leader should at least have the basis into four main guiding pillars which I call short as TREE. And this comes from Trust, Respect, Empathy, Equity!
And to the questions what makes a great leader; Here the answer should be quite simple. The people! The people that work with him, that help him, that choose to follow him. The people that are surrounding a leader can make him great.
Only the people can make a leader great and nothing else.
Why have you decided to join the Atlas Invictus team as a partner?
It’s an honor for me to be part of a team that is promoting such a noble sport. A sport which has his foundation in a valuable principle: Respect!
I see the partnership with Atlas Invictus as an opportunity to give back, a way how I can be part of something that is helping people maintain a healthy lifestyle, that is working directly with adults and especially children and is teaching them through fencing all about respect, humbleness, hard work and dedication.
Plus, if a can be a bit selfish, you get a lot of satisfaction when you know that you can be part, even in a small way in having the opportunity to maybe raise together with the Atlas Invictus team the next fencing world champion.
Welcome to # TeamAtlas
Per Aspera ad Astra