7 Questions with Jordan Michaelides

Name: Jordan Michaelides

Current title: Managing Director

Current organisation: Neuralle

Managing Director & Head of Strategy at Neuralle Agency. Host of Uncommon.

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?

Knowing when to lead via example or instruction. Sometimes when you're an A-Type individual, you struggle to let go of activities that would be better served by staff in the longer term.

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

Neuralle was founded after my co-founder & fiance launched our own podcast. Multiple people asked us for audio/video production tips and from that point the agency was born.
It's now expanded to included Social & Paid Media, plus a burgeoning growth in the Tik Tok Influencer scene.

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

I start my day at 7.30-8am and use the morning for the highest value tasks - anything that involves working on the business, content creation, interviews for the podcast.
By midday, I spend two hours exercising, eating, meditating to let my brain refresh for the afternoon.
The afternoon from 2.00pm is typically full of meetings or "busy" work, emails, calls, etc.
Work is meant to be finished at 5.30-6pm but it often goes over. I then make dinner with my fiancee and chill out for the night, often going for a walk to make sure I hit my 10k steps for my P/T.
I read for one hour each night as it puts me to sleep and helps with consistent learning. I'm typically reading one book a fortnight on average so I'm very selective of what I read.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

That you underestimate the weight in which you say things. You see staff often as fellow human beings, most the time they see you as a leader or boss, it's often hard to get that individual to completely open up for fear of retribution down the line.
I'm a very pragmatic person and not very quick to anger so I find this very odd, but is a natural occurence for many who've worked in the pressure cookery industry that is advertising & marketing.

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?

Team of Teams by General Stanley Macrystal - This book articulated to me in a uniform way on what was already happening in the tech sector. Decentralised teams are the way of the future, because of that we now have a constantly evolving knowledge resource or "handbook" and team members that are based in Europe, North America & Asia - with HQ in Melbourne.
Small Giants by Bo Burlingham - These are the type of businesses I dream about all the time and describe to my team when analysing my "daydreaming" of what the future looks like. The Mittlestadt in Germany, the Keiretsu in Japan, businesses that don't necessarily scale by just doing more of the same, but instead increasing price, prestige and other elements to get the expanded outcome with the same team size.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?

Through examples where possible, then heap as much responsibility on people as they can tolerate without overburdening them.
You'll be surprised how smart your staff are when you do this.

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

That sometimes you need to rip the band aid off and do everyone a favour, people are more intuitive than you realise.
Our Head of Sales, a good friend, wasn't performing for quite some time. Creating a prickly situation. But most staff and even that individual could see the outcome fast approaching, it was just me who didn't realise it soon enough, but when we did, we ripped the band off, we were open and honest in the process and I still hold that friendship today.