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Fresh Views on Leadership
November 26, 2014

“Leaders who operate at their best bring the best to their team.”

“Leaders need to carry a deep sense of meaning, purpose and intent about why they do what they do. People are excited to work for a leader with purpose. Leaders who operate at their best bring the best to their team,” says leadership expert Kai Grünewald.

Alt: Kai Grünewald (Courtesy of Kai Grünewald)
Yale leadership trainer Kai Grünewald

Credit: Courtesy of Kai Grünewald

Grünewald is co-founder of the Boston-based management consulting firm Aberkyn. He began his business career at age 22 when he took over his family’s metals and plastics firm. Grünewald shared some his views of leadership with a group of young African leaders studying business and entrepreneurship at Yale University during the summer of 2014. Here are some of his messages:

Deal with Upsets

  • Sometimes we are confronted with upsets. But every upset has meaning and is a step in preparing you to become a stronger person. You have the ability to reframe an upsetting episode. Ask yourself: What can I learn from this? What has been my part in creating this upset? Rather than being a victim of your circumstances, you become creative in your response to what is happening. You reframe the situation.
  • If you feel agitated, learn to pause in the moment, count to 10, then ask yourself: What do I want to happen?

Manage Your Fears

  • Some fears shared by many people include fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of hurting others, and fear that you don’t matter. That’s why people hold back, put up shields and don’t open up. Communication breaks down. Step out of that defensive crouch and step into your powerful selves. That liberates you.
  • Make a list of your fears. Then find other people with the same fears. It’s a relief to realize that you are not the only one suffering from those fears.

Forge Trust

  • Learn what other members of your team value. The effort will lead to greater understanding by you and will instill trust in others.
  • Clarify your expectations and deliver on promises. Be honest about your limitations.
  • Withhold judgment and criticism. Separate the person from performance.

Create Time to Recharge

  • Balance your energy by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.
  • Seek out conversations with coworkers so you can hear something new.
  • Reach out to friends regularly and send notes that compliment, thank or praise others.
  • Each day, look around and meditate on nature. Take a few minutes to concentrate just on breathing.

Grünewald advises young African leaders to develop a sincere intention for what they would like to gain by participating in YALI. “Be aware of your personal strengths and act on them,” he says.

More information about Aberkyn is on the firm’s Web page.