Award recog­nises train­ing boss’s lead­er­ship style

The Star Early Edition - - WORKPLACE -

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.

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