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7 Questions on Leadership with Andrew Tsuro


Name: Andrew Tsuro


Title: Chief Executive


Organisation: The eHub - Entrepreneurs Hub


Meet one of the:


• 2023 Second Runner Up for Mercedes Benz' New Entrepreneur Award - BBQ Awards

• 2022 Africa’s Brightest Young Minds

• 2022 Finalist in the Inclusive Leader - Gender Mainstreaming Awards

• 2022 News24 30 Young Mandela’s - Leadership Category


In addition to Corporate Training, Andrew is the Chief Executive of The Hub an entrepreneurs hub that helps professionals transition from corporate to entrepreneurship with mentorship in order to alleviate the plight of the African.


His work credits includes extensive training at corporates across Southern Africa such as Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Standard Bank (Malawi, SA, Zambia), Exxaro, University of Witwatersrand, Afrox Linde, Bidvest Bank and many others in different industries.


Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!


I hope Andrew's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Cheers,

Jonno White



1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?


Every team is comprised of individuals. Each individual has unique preferences, just as I do as a leader. I found it challenging to serve my team in their preferred way while maintaining an authentic self.


I remember at some point leading a team of about 22 senior executives across 13 countries and had to adjust my communication and leadership style for each of them in order to sell the vision and gain their buy in at the beginning of my term.


With some, we connected instantly, and with others, I had to change my approach, words and way of communicating in order to help them see the bigger picture, let alone liking it. I am glad it was a great learning experience that set me up for success for the rest of my leadership journey.


2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?


I am inspired by the people who believe in me and motivated by those who don't. From a young age, i had people recognising my potential, but most importantly, grooming it. I was nurtured along various leadership roles and of course, challenged (read motivated) by others along the way.


Of recent, I was on a quest to redefine leadership in Africa and this was after i had a rude awakening from a research i did that showed how many people across the world, Africa included, had a negative connection to the phrase "Leaders from Africa" and only 13% of the respondents had something positive to say. I want(ed) to increase the percentage to well over 50% in order to change the narrative.


I got involved in various leadership development programmes, championed a few, and documented and showcased other leaders who were doing impactful work and making meaningful change but not prominently celebrated. Today, through the Toastmasters community and The eHub, we are curbing two huge issues - the leadership drought and unemployment in our continent respectively.


3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?


Intention precedes any purposeful action.

My days are never the same, but they all have purposeful "activities"


These include:


1. Skills development - I enjoy coaching conversations so these form a big part of my day. My day has been meaningful only if i have helped someone up skill - and as we know, in teaching we learn, and in learning we teach.


2. Reflection - I am a big believer in personal reflection and daily (sometimes multiple times a day) - I take time to reflect on what is happening within me (mindset / perspective) and what is happening around me (my immediate surroundings). This keeps me honest and also aware of what i might be missing to avoid ignorance or misleading self and others.


3. Revival/Rejuvenation: I am always looking for opportunities to rejuvenate my soul so i can fill up my cup to pour into others. I discovered that when my cup is running empty, i tend to be unhelpful to myself and others around me. To avoid that, I engage in activities that fill up my soul e.g. going to secret locations (beautiful, serene settings such as restaurants, nature-spaces, attraction sites) or watching inspiring "golden buzzer" auditions on Talent shows, or speaking at conferences, summits and or supporting community development initiatives.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?


A team is like a complete puzzle. One piece cannot stand alone and be complete, but it needs to also find its fit/place on the bigger piece; just as the rest of the picture is incomplete without that one piece.


As a leader, remember to foster this sense of belonging for every team member and also, to remember you alone cannot be the picture but can place yourself right so that the other team members too can find their part to play in the team. Failure to do this will result in nothing beautiful to be in awe of.


5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?


"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. This classic self-help book, published in 1936, has been highly influential in the realm of personal development, communication, and leadership.


There are 2 particular lessons that I love from the book:


Lesson 1: Handling Conflict and Criticism Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was known for his exceptional ability to handle criticism with grace. In the book, Carnegie narrates how Lincoln faced harsh criticism from Edwin M. Stanton, one of his political opponents. Despite Stanton's initial contempt for Lincoln, the latter never retaliated in anger. Instead, he remained composed and kept his emotions in check. Later, when Lincoln became the President, he appointed Stanton as his Secretary of War, showing his ability to forgive and reconcile. This approach to criticism and conflict resolution made Lincoln a wise and respected leader.


Lesson 2: Influence and Persuasion: Winning People to Your Way of Thinking The book shares a story of a man named Edward L. Chalif, who worked in the meatpacking industry. Chalif found himself in a difficult situation where his company was about to lose a significant contract. Instead of arguing or pleading, Chalif approached the potential client, the hotel manager, and asked for his advice on how to improve the service. He listened attentively to the manager's suggestions and implemented them.


As a result, the hotel manager was so impressed by Chalif's open-mindedness and willingness to improve that he not only gave the contract to Chalif's company but also became a loyal customer. This story illustrates the power of humility, active listening, and a genuine desire to understand and meet the needs of others in influencing and persuading people.


6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?


In everything you do, make heads turn by exceeding expectations. The world must feel your presence and record your footprint. You do not have to be liked by everybody, but make it difficult for everybody to criticise your leadership.


The world is watching.


7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?


It's a story of caring enough to let go of your personal interests and serving the needs of others.


I recall recently serving my team meant listening to their challenges and not necessary providing solutions but being a non-judgemental, safe space for venting and breathing. My diverse team had different "needs" from me, some verbalised, some not.


Some were going through personal challenges and trusted me, in confidence, with the details. While i had no "experience" and others would say, "was too young to get involved in it" - these individual team members trusted me with the sensitive details and that was a meaningful role I felt I served with meaning; being a sounding board, a venting space and a trusted confidante.

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