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7 Questions on Leadership with John Mark Ossai

Name: John Mark Ossai

Title: Chief Operating officer

Organisation: Small Hurry

John is a gifted marketing, Business Development, and sales professional with a solid record of achievement in driving competitive growth and innovative product development. He has a proven track record of optimizing operations to maintain budgets and schedules while surpassing target results and boosting bottom-line profitability.

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

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


Jonno White

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

One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is navigating the complexity of human dynamics within a team or organization. People are diverse, with different personalities, motivations, and perspectives. Balancing individual needs with the collective goals of the team can be a delicate task.

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

Leadership is often achieved through a combination of experience, education, and personal development. Many leaders acquire their skills through a combination of formal education, professional experiences, mentorship, and self-directed learning.

Leadership qualities can be cultivated over time by developing strong communication and interpersonal skills, honing decision-making abilities, and acquiring a deep understanding of the industry or field in which they operate. Additionally, leaders often demonstrate traits such as integrity, adaptability, resilience, and the ability to inspire and motivate others. It's important to note that leadership is a lifelong journey of growth and development.

Successful leaders continue to learn, adapt, and refine their skills throughout their careers. They also recognize the importance of building relationships, collaborating with others, and empowering their teams to achieve shared goals.

While I may not have enough time to write about my personal story of becoming a leader, I can provide guidance and insights to help individuals develop and enhance their leadership abilities based on the collective knowledge and experiences available to me.

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

Morning Routine:

Wake up early to start the day with a clear mind.

Engage in activities that promote personal well-being, such as exercise, meditation, or reading. Review goals and priorities for the day.

Have a nutritious breakfast to fuel the body and mind.

Planning and Prioritization: Start the workday by reviewing and responding to emails, messages, and other forms of communication. Review the day's schedule and prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. Set specific goals and objectives for the day.

Focus Time: Allocate blocks of uninterrupted time for focused work or strategic thinking. During this time, minimize distractions, turn off notifications, and create a conducive environment for concentration.

Meetings and Collaborations: Schedule meetings, team discussions, and collaborations during appropriate times of the day. Set clear agendas and objectives for each meeting to maximize efficiency. Encourage active participation, open communication, and collaboration among team members. Breaks and

Self-Care: Take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge and maintain productivity. Engage in activities that promote well-being, such as taking short walks, practicing mindfulness, or connecting with colleagues informally.

Decision-making and Problem-solving: Allocate time for critical decision-making and problem-solving activities. Gather necessary information, analyze options, and involve relevant stakeholders as needed. Make informed decisions based on available data and insights.

Delegation and Empowerment: Delegate tasks and responsibilities to team members, empowering them to take ownership and contribute their expertise. Provide guidance, support, and feedback to ensure the success of delegated tasks.

End-of-Day Review and Reflection: Review progress made during the day and assess whether goals were achieved. Reflect on successes, challenges, and lessons learned. Prepare a plan for the next day, including identifying key priorities and tasks.

Personal Time and Relaxation: Set boundaries and allocate time for personal activities, hobbies, and spending time with family and friends. Engage in activities that promote relaxation and well-being.

Restful Sleep: Establish a consistent sleep routine and ensure sufficient sleep hours for optimal cognitive function and overall health.

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

Foster Better Relationships: Actively listening to team members, colleagues, and stakeholders helps build trust and rapport. It demonstrates that their opinions and ideas are valued, which encourages open communication and collaboration.

Gain Valuable Insights: By actively listening, leaders can gather valuable insights, ideas, and feedback. This information can be crucial for making informed decisions, improving processes, and driving innovation.

Enhance Problem-Solving: Actively listening allows leaders to fully understand the challenges and concerns faced by their team. It enables them to identify the root causes of issues and work collaboratively on finding effective solutions.

Support Employee Development: Active listening shows genuine interest in the growth and development of team members. By listening to their goals, aspirations, and challenges, leaders can provide relevant guidance and support for their professional development.

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?

"Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek.

"Leaders Eat Last" explores the concept of leadership in the context of building a culture of trust, collaboration, and shared success. The book emphasizes the importance of leaders putting the well-being of their team members first and creating an environment where people feel safe, valued, and motivated.

Through real-life examples and anecdotes, Sinek delves into the biology and psychology of human behavior, explaining how leaders who prioritize the needs of their team foster a sense of belonging and inspire greater loyalty and commitment.

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

Never stop learning and growing.

Leadership is a continuous journey of self-improvement and development. Embrace a growth mindset and be open to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. Seek out opportunities for learning, whether through reading books, attending seminars, taking courses, or seeking mentorship.

Invest in your personal and professional growth by acquiring new skills, expanding your knowledge, and honing your leadership abilities. Reflect on your experiences, both successes, and failures, and learn from them. Continuously challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and take on new challenges.

Remember that leadership is not about having all the answers but about being willing to learn, adapt, and grow alongside your team. Be curious, ask questions, and actively seek feedback from your team members and colleagues. Foster a culture of learning and collaboration within your organization, where everyone feels encouraged to share ideas and contribute to the collective growth.

By embracing a lifelong learning mindset, you'll not only enhance your leadership capabilities but also inspire and motivate those around you. Your commitment to growth will set an example for others and create an environment that values continuous improvement.

So, young leader, never underestimate the power of learning and personal growth. Embrace the journey, be open to new possibilities, and strive to become the best leader you can be.

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

One meaningful leadership story is that of Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa. Mandela's story is a powerful example of resilience, forgiveness, and transformative leadership.

Throughout his life, Mandela faced immense challenges, including 27 years of imprisonment for his activism against apartheid. Despite enduring hardships and injustice, Mandela emerged as a symbol of reconciliation and unity.

His leadership style was characterized by inclusivity, empathy, and a commitment to justice. After being released from prison, Mandela actively worked towards dismantling apartheid and promoting racial harmony. He recognized the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation as key pillars of the healing process.

Rather than seeking revenge or perpetuating a cycle of violence, Mandela sought to bridge divides and bring people together. He advocated for truth and reconciliation, establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the atrocities of the apartheid era and promote healing through dialogue and understanding.

Mandela's leadership story inspires leaders to embrace forgiveness, compassion, and the pursuit of justice. His ability to rise above personal suffering and lead with integrity and inclusivity serves as a timeless example of transformative leadership.

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