MSc Management Insights Speaker Series: Leadership with soul
09 February 2024

Our MSc students are invited to attend a wide range of speaker and insight events. Here, MSc Business Analytics student Sammiat shares her experiences at the latest Management Insights Speaker Series session.

Leadership is like doing sports at the highest level, you have to work extremely hard to get there and work even harder to remain at the top.” - André Lacroix

We have all sat through talks that make you feel momentarily motivated, but once you leave you completely forget what you just sat through. Well, this was not the case in this week’s WBS management insight series.

I had the pleasure of peeking into the mind of a Fortune 500 company CEO, André Lacroix. He is the CEO of Intertek and has played executive leadership roles across different global companies, such as Euro Disney S.C.A and Burger King International, in the past 25 years.

With such an impressive track record, I was very keen to hear about any topic from someone with such a wealth of experience and exposure and his take on leadership was excitingly more than I bargained for.  

Mr Lacroix believes good leadership is achieving things through people (employees and shareholders). By leading with inspiration, he invests in people's emotional well-being by constantly demonstrating empathy.

It is fascinating to witness someone at such a high level successfully navigate challenges, avoiding the common risk of disconnecting from people and developing a distorted view of reality. This ability is credited to humility and prioritising people.
 

Principles of Leadership

We discussed 10 sector-agnostic principles of leadership, summarised below:

  1. Lead with emotional intelligence
  2. Have a vision (imagine the journey and paint the picture for the rest)
  3. Energise the organisation to outperform
  4. Customer intimacy (gain the trust of your customers)
  5. Innovation - reinvent the future
  6. Mastering complexity (find a balance between capabilities and complexities)
  7. Embody the strategy at the top
  8. Laser-focused execution (success = 1% inspiration, + 99% execution)
  9. Communication: Ever-better branding
  10. Sustainability from end-to-end.

Key takeaway

I have learnt that being a good leader requires constant improvement; otherwise, you risk being trapped in the pit of arrogance, leading to a sharp drop in emotional intelligence. Regardless of how far up the ladder you climb, there is always more to learn and more avenues for personal growth.

From my perspective, leadership is context-driven and requires you to be dynamic in assessing which style of leadership to apply. Putting people at the core of your growth strategy may not be feasible in some countries, sectors and/or situations, given that empathy can occasionally be manipulated or misused.

Besides all the wise words shared during the session, one thing that struck me about the speaker was his attitude and demeanour; he gave himself 15 minutes to talk and the rest of the time (45+ minutes) to hear from the audience.

I saw his words come to life through his actions, proof that he believed everything he spoke about and this is why his words have stuck with me.

If you'd like to hear more about our Management Insights Speaker Series, please contact WBSMastersReception@wbs.ac.uk. Learn more about our Postgraduate courses, and Sammiat’s course MSc Business Analytics.