Leadership involves choosing
A few days ago EAE Business School’s Barcelona Campus hosted the conference on leadership management “Learning to lead”, by Santiago Ávila, Managing Partner of Executives On Go. The speaker is the author of “Learning to lead” and “Emotional Management” by Pearson Publishing. He was presented by Javier Crespo, Director of the Master in Human Resources Management and personal friend of the guest. The room was completely crowded for the session has created so much expectation among the students.
Ávila, an expert in business management, but with a background that spreads brushstrokes of physics, philosophy and humanism, began the session with music by Led Zeppelin. He claimed that “the world, like music, not only has to be understood but also felt”. And he added that, “if we do not turn what we learn into a habit, it will become useless.”
Throughout the session, he defended the importance of following basic principles of trust, respect and sincerity, in performing a managerial role. He also explained the main characteristics that a good leader must have for his/her project to gain a genuine meaning.
Talent and Commitment
In his opinion, to achieve a goal, be it entrepreneurial or not, it is necessary to have the right combination of talent and commitment. “However,” he added, “commitment has the most important role in the equation. A project with little talent but with a great commitment has a better chance of succeeding than one that has a lot of talent but little dedication.” And to develop his theory, he mentioned the example of the Nobel Prize in Medicine Santiago Ramón y Cajal, who had to fight incessantly for his achievements to be valued internationally.
If one idea was repeated throughout the conference, and entirely intentionally, it was that “leadership is about people”. And, according to Ávila, “you have to make out that one plus one add three insteado of two or even less”. That is the leader’s main challenge. And in that sense, he stressed the importance of listening, and of aligning in a common purpose with the people on whom leadership is exercised. All this, in a committed way, without forgetting the principles with which one feels identified and legitimized.
Finally, Ávila highlighted the remarkable evolution of the concept of leadership since the early twentieth century. He also defended the need to practice transcendent leadership, that is, to achieve the transformation of others through inspiration, not through propaganda or the imposition of ideas: the leader of leaders. And for that, he offered one last piece of advice to the attendees: “we must maintain a perfect balance between courage, wisdom and patience.”
To lead is to choose, and it would materialize in a series of luck that would be: to do good well.