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Want to become a better leader? Dig deeper into yourself and remove that armor with Fede Heine
Today, I had a great conversation with Fede Heine and I wanted to share that with you guys, as I learned new things which I’m sure are useful for you as well. From the moment I met Fede, I had a great connection with him. We are both working in a market that is very profit-driven and results-oriented. But Fede also noticed that we need to bring more humanity to this business and bring attention to the wellbeing of the people in an organization.
Who is Fede?
Fede is originally from Argentina, he is now general manager for Southern Europe of Jacobs Douwe Egberts (that really good coffee you might drink). He previously spent 19 years at Procter & Gamble in different roles in different countries throughout Latin America. He played A LOT (about 28 years) of rugby and that has taught him that even though you might have to be rough on the outside, there should always be room to be sensitive as well, in order for the team to back and understand each other and make more progress. And he always used that state of mind in his professional life as well. However, working at P&G means that you work in an environment where efficiency, excellence, and hard work are required. And I wondered how Fede survived there so long with his different approach to leading and managing teams.
The key is to drop the “or” and focus on “and”
When I asked him that question, he said that he had learned to combine being ambitious and being true to his values and his self. Most people start out very ambitious, eager to prove that they are worth hiring and can deliver results. However, many people pretend to be a person they aren’t in order to achieve that. The key for Fede – and for you as well – is realizing that you can deliver great results and still act and be according to your values. More than it is possible, it also is great for you, because if you are you, you don’t need to use your energy to be someone else!
The required connection everyone needs in their team
But that isn’t the only benefit you get, no-no. I believe that we inspire people, because we are true to ourselves and really know what we want, and live and behave according to our values. As humans, we need to connect to other persons in order to work together. And you cannot connect to a person – or your boss – if they pretend to be perfect. If you want to create a good connection with your team, you need to bring people together, keep the fun in the office and make everyone remember that you have a common goal. But another way to have that connection is to create an atmosphere of trust. And that is something that has evolved since the pandemic hit us in 2020.
How we can use the pandemic to create empowerment and trust
Fede believes that companies should be less driven to get their people in the office from nine to six. There used to be this urge to control people and keep them in the same location in order to see what they are working on. But now, for obvious reasons, that isn’t possible anymore. And people have learned to trust each other. Not only that, this culture of nine to six is starting to fade. The lack of physical presence allows the people to spend their breaks increasing their energy, by having lunch with their partners or children or by taking a stroll in the neighborhood.
How can you grow as a leader and person?
I believe that it is essential for a leader to bring out the best in people, to make them feel valued and challenged, so they can grow. You need to believe in the people more than they do in themselves. And that requires a lot of energy because when you are tired, you can become angry or be a pain in the ass. I was curious how Fede managed his energy in order to bring out the best in people and so I asked him. His answer is surprisingly simple, but that doesn’t make it easy.
The key is to work on yourself.
I think we can agree that this is a pretty vague sentence and it is a thing everyone should do, so allow Fede to elaborate. Working on yourself is meaning to get to know yourself in the first place. That means you need to be ready to dig inside yourself and face the dark things about you. Things you know are there, but you choose to ignore, things you are ashamed of. And the only way to work on yourself and improve the way you act is to go inside yourself and embrace the shit you might know, see and feel. Once you can accept these sensations, or traits about you, and only then, will you be able to transcend into a better person? It will enable you to be so much more, to feel compassion and empathy for others and help them do the same and that’s when you can bring these values within your organization, change the culture and implement a strategy to get great results you all want. It is very hard to dig that deep inside of you, so I think it is absolutely vital to get help from other people. Find a friend or a person you trust and talk about it. If you reach that stage in your life, that you are aware of what is inside of you, you can reach success beyond success. Wait for what?
Success beyond success
Fede told me about this concept and I was intrigued. Success beyond success is not about reaching great results in your work life or private life. It is not about being promoted or climbing the ladder in your company. It’s not about delivering great results to your boss. Success beyond success is accepting that you cannot always control the outcome of a certain situation, but knowing that you can always control the way you act. And if you are yourself and you act with integrity, that means making decisions in complete alignment with your values, you are successful beyond success. Even if you don’t reach the outcome you had desired, by acting with integrity, you will earn trust and connect to other people, for being true to them, but most importantly, to yourself.