There is a lot learnt and said about developing leadership skills at the workplace, but have you really thought of how to work upon developing these skills to emerge as a Great Leader? But most importantly you need to understand the difference between a good and a great leader. Great leaders not only focus on developing and making relationships but also work on nurturing a relationship and trusting each other through a shared purpose. Great leaders challenge themselves to think differently, thereby enabling them to grow. Let us learn more about the key leadership skills and areas to focus on for achieving your dream job.
In this interview series we have, Mr. Oluwatosin Adeosun – A leadership and capability development expert with a breadth of experience in production and operations management, leadership development, capability development, talent development, employee engagement as well as relationship management. He has over 13years of work experience with a multinational food and beverage manufacturing company. With his exemplary skills and organizational practices, he has moved up his career journey from Technical Operator to Learning Partner.
Q1. Can you tell us more about your journey as a “Leadership Trainer”, and what challenges did you face?
Answer: My leadership journey started over 11 years ago. It started when I was in a town in Nigeria, called Owerri, that was where I started my career. In 2010, I got a mission to start a book review in my sitting room. So, I started a book review. Every Sunday at 4 pm, people come to my house to read together. We pick different books and go through it. We read together, discuss and share and agree on action plans. That’s how it started and this mission became so big. So we have to take the mission outside my sitting room to a place within the town. It became so big that people travel from different places to participate in my weekly book review. We then had to open a public library. This mission for people development started from this experience and we are leveraging this opportunity to employ youth and young adults.
That was just the beginning and after that, I had an opportunity to be transferred from to location in Nigeria called Benin city. So I worked there for over 4 years. During my working days, I was an area production manager. I was concentrating on production activities, developing, and delivering the deliverables in production. Both along the line but I was also empowering myself in getting relevant certifications in Human Resource Management. So I remember in 2019, one of my powerful New year resolution in 2019 was to set an online institute here I enrolled myself more to study more about Human Resource Management and there I found Vskills. An Indian Institute where I enrolled.
Through 2019, I was empowering myself by securing knowledge in Human Resource Management and there was where I was able to study any certificate with Vskills. So I was doing a lot of knowledge investments and preparing myself. Since over the years, I have been investing massively in books. I read books from different authors to develop my leadership capabilities. Thankfully, before the end of last year, I was able to make a very big switch from production and operations management to human resource management. This is what I have nurtured for over 10 years to be in HRM.
So finally I was able to learn it with my current employer and thanks to everybody who helped in making this vision a reality. So that’s a brief about my leadership journey.
Q2. How does one identify the leader in themselves and work on developing leadership skills?
Answer: Developing leadership skills endure taking responsibility. For anybody to develop good leadership capability, they must be willing to assume responsibility. First, you must be willing to develop yourself, to invest massively in self-development and it worked for me. So you must take learning seriously because you cannot give what you don’t have. So the first step is investing in yourself, and seek relevant knowledge, go for degrees and certifications in your line of calling.
Thereafter, be willing to share, willing to empower people around you. If you are a manager in an organization, you should willing to empower your team, you are willing to replicate yourself in others. These are the things which would make you know you are ready for leadership roles and taking responsibility.
Q3. What is your approach when you train someone in finding his true leadership potential?
Answer: One of the approaches I use when I teach leadership is I make my audience and participants aware that there is no best leadership style. We don’t have the best leadership style. So a leader must be willing must know the art of situation of leadership. Your ability to use different leadership styles in different scenarios. In your leadership journey, you will be supposed to manage different business complexity and different people with different characters. So it is very important that you must be able to switch leadership styles.
You must be good at understanding your people, know your people, know the things you are needing, know how to better empower them, and know the type of leadership style you need to apply to Mr. A, B or C. So there is no best leadership style. So anytime I have the opportunity to teach, I make people understand that it is very important to develop capabilities. Leadership is about ‘influence’, so people might forget everything but not how you made them feel. So leadership is about influence and I teach people to understand that you can make that change where you have and what you have.
Q4. As per one of your recent posts, how important is it to upskill oneself?
Answer: I have a background in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from one of the polytechnics in Nigeria and so I studied engineering and I got into my current place of work and employee using my engineering experience. I started as a technical operator. But, after 2 years, I was assigned to work in the maintenance department and I worked there for about 2 years before I made a move back to production as ship production manager. So after I worked as a ship product manager, I had an opportunity to work as an area production manager. So I was able to maximize every opportunity that I have come my way because I am a learner and I learned with time.
I am self-starting. I love to push myself to big things. So I dream big to achieve high. Consciously I have been investing myself academically and I go for certifications that will help me to go closer to my career development goals. So I have been doing it for years and it had worked for me. If I tell our audience today what you can do today to empower yourself is be willing to learn every day. Our world is very complex, very fast changes are occurring in the world today and for succeeding in the workplace, you must be willing to upskill and develop yourself.
Q5. What advice would you like to give to our viewers who wish to make a career in this field?
Answer: Firstly, I would say your dream, and your vision is valid. Now if you dream to become a leadership development trainer tomorrow or dream to be in a leadership position tomorrow, your dreams are valid. All you need to do is prepare yourself very well for that opportunity, move forward and keep walking towards your goal. Keep taking affirmative steps on daily basis and before you know it you are already fulfilling your dream and your passion.
Q6. Would you like to share with our viewers about the one quotation you live by your life?
Answer: One very beautiful quote I love is “one step at a time.” This is a very beautiful quote I believe in and I have been using this and it has been working for me. One step at a time.
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Leadership Interview Questions
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