Award recognises training boss’s leadership style
JULIETTE Fourie, managing director of Metro Minds, won Boss of the Year at a luncheon in Sandton last week.
The award, in its 25th year, recognises excellence in the workplace, without placing emphasis on size of a business or the nature of the management role. It seeks to honour those leaders who follow the principles of people-driven leadership.
The organisers of the award – business and leadership publishing company Dictum Publishers – announced at the event that, going into the next quarter century, the award will be known as the BOTY (Boss of the Year) Leadership Award.
This is because the term “boss”, while perfectly acceptable 25 years ago, has taken on other connotations, some of them negative.
Metro Minds is a training company. With Fourie at the helm, it offers fun and informative education in the form of public courses and skills programmes to the transport, freight and associated industries.
A feature of the award is that the leader must be nominated by a member of his or her team, who must motivate the nomination, and who is interviewed by the panel of judges as part of the selection process.
Yolandi Dercksen, a training executive at Metro Minds, nominated Fourie, and had this to say: “Juliette is a person of integrity who believes in people more than process. Passionate about people’s training and development, she treats everyone in the company as a trusted family member.
“Juliette has created an environment of freedom with responsibility where truth can be heard without judgment and where the main ingredient in the work environment is fun. This environment is conducive to helping employees excel.”
Fourie says being a leader requires courage. “The most courage one should have is to unpack your own strengths and weaknesses, behaviour and emotions, before trying to understand the people who will follow you.”
“Bosses need to improve the importance they put on themselves. Understanding the self is not an emotional luxury, but a survival necessity in life and business. Selfesteem plays a pivotal role in our ability to take risks, learn new skills, be creative, take feedback, deal with others properly, and be productive and assertive.
“Bosses in South Africa should understand their world with its challenges better – with themselves in the centre – then focus on the right people to create opportunities from these issues and link them to ongoing skills development. Never stop becoming qualified for what you do,” she adds.
Ornella Trinco, the chairwoman of the award committee, says that over the 25 years it has been going, the mission of the Boss of the Year has always been to identify who is getting leadership right in the current workplace scenario and business climate.
“The role of the business leader is proving to be more and more significant in a country that is desper- ate for strong leadership and strong role models,” she says.
“The 25th anniversary of the award is a milestone for us, and it is significant that our winner this year is a woman, and that she is the leader of a small enterprise who more than held her own in the presence of representatives from some of the country’s corporate giants.”
Alexander Forbes has been the main sponsor of the initiative for the past two years, and Edward Kieswetter, its group chief executive – himself a former Boss of the Year – believes efforts to promote strong and sound leadership are to be lauded.
“The workplace, whether in the public, private or civic sectors, is now a different universe to the reality of the past,” he says.
“It is populated by people who have different expectations of their leaders. We applaud the work done by this leadership award which recognises and rewards those leaders who are aligned to contemporary trends of leadership seeing the creation of healthier workplaces.”
Fourie was selected from a group of six finalists who were subjected to a day of stringent vetting by a panel of judges. The other finalists were Joseph Rock, general manager, services, Exxaro Resources; Pieter Havenga, head of operations, FNB Insurance; Thendo Ramagoma, general manager, Heritage Foundation; Grant Dunnington, group chief executive of SBV Services; and Joey Staphorst, senior manager, business development, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Business School.
2014’S TOP BOSS: Juliette Fourie, managing director of Metro Minds.