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Businesses must possess empathy, integrity to stand turbulent times, says Airtel CEO

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By Juliet Umeh

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, has called on business leaders to cultivate qualities such as empathy, integrity, good communication skills and a strong sense of purpose if they must succeed and achieve results during turbulent times.

Speaking  at a  recently concluded Advertisers Association of Nigeria, ADVAN, Business Roundtable,  Ogunsanya said leaders must never be in denial whenever there is a crisis.

He stated that CEOs must be bold, decisive and should immediately confront any crisis  while demonstrating the ability to handle complex situations.

According to him, the ability to demonstrate empathy as a leader is essential to the success of any business.

For him, leaders must confront reality and not lose the essence of the organisation’s purpose during disruptive times.

He said: “Good leadership involves communicating effectively. As an individual occupying a leadership position, most especially during a turbulent period, you need to constantly communicate with your people. It is important to leave the communication channels open. By communicating, you’re not only building trust but also opening an avenue for collective contributions and this will drive engagement and solutions.

“Showing vulnerability as a leader is not a sign of weakness, it is simply being human. An honest leader should be able to show vulnerability whilst also demonstrating compassion.

“One of the ways you can show compassion during turbulent times is by offering employees the opportunity to choose to work at home or select days in which tahey can work physically at the office. Empathy and compassion not only inspire your people but also help in building a collaborative environment,” he said.

The event, ADVAN CMO Forum was initiated to provide the nation’s business leaders with a platform to hold meaningful discourse on ways to better navigate the fast-changing marketing communications and business landscape.

The platform has, over the years, hosted several pertinent conversations on effective marketing and business leadership for the future.

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