In September 2021, some of Nigeria’s brightest business strategists and human resource experts gathered online to discuss pathways to improve productivity and efficiency in business through effective leadership at the second West African Business Leaders’ Summit (WABLS). The event hosted by The Leadership Project (TLP) was powered by the Global Leadership Summit. Panelists at the virtual event include Tunde Ojo, Media expert and CEO of Touchstone Limited; Leonard F. Thomas, International Management Consultant and Certified John Maxwell Leadership Trainer; Piboere Okukulade, Lawyer and Director of Administration & Communication for Vision International; Kunbi Adeoti, human resource expert and Divisional Director, Human Resources at Leadway Assurance; and Meka Olowola, renowned branding expert and Chairman, Zenera Group.
They were joined by one of the world’s most renowned leadership experts, Liz Wiseman, the CEO of Wiseman Group, a talent and human resources management organization positioned to cause a mindset shift in leadership development.
Wiseman, who provided deep insights into her winning principle, The Multiplier Effect, said the multiplier is the kind of leader who has departed from the mindset of using their intelligence to get results to using their ability to amplify the capability of those they lead to cause ripples of exponential expansion
She shared examples of multipliers such as Highschool Rugby coach, Larry Gelwix, and tree planter, Wangari Mathai, who see the possibility and creativity in others
“The multiplier has vision. They believe that people are smart, and they will figure it out. They communicate, they trust, and they empower,” said Wiseman.
On the opposite, we have leaders that are diminishers, who are controlling, micromanage a lot, do not delegate, and are selfish. Yet, some leaders can be accidental diminishers without them knowing it. According to Wiseman, the accidental diminisher is the good manager, following popular management practices but having a diminishing effect without knowing it despite having good intentions. The different types of people that can accidentally have a diminishing effect include the pacesetter, the optimist, the idea guy, the rapid responder, the always-on and the rescuer.
The panelists who discussed the topic right after Wiseman’s presentation, explored the topic even further, providing different perspectives on the Multiplier Effect, examining why some leaders feel they will lose control of their organizations if they give people more room to express themselves at work. This may be because they are conditioned based on their observations and past experiences, to not trust people and they think the only way to protect themselves is by reducing the influence and freedom of people under them.
According to Tunde Ojo, a lot of leaders are looking for people who will just come and help them achieve their personal goals. However, the leaders themselves need to be interested in the development of their followers.
Leonard F. Thomas believes the big picture for a leader is not just growing the bottom-line but creating an environment where people can cultivate their capabilities.
“If you cannot connect with the heart as a leader, don’t expect the hand to move,” said Kunbi Adeoti, who argued that leaders need to be more empathetic with their subordinates.
Now in its second edition and organized by The Leadership Project (TLP), the West African Business Leaders’ Summit (WABLS) continues to galvanize high level business discourse that generates value for business leaders, entrepreneurs and corporate executives.
The first edition of the event, held in March 2020 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, focused on Leadership, Innovation, and Profitability. The event featured both international and Nigerian industry experts who shared practical knowledge and insights to enable business owners and make balanced and informed decisions in their respective roles.
Former speakers at the conference include global business thought leaders such as Mitch Barns, a 3-time World Economic Forum speaker/panellist who is renowned for his expertise in identifying consumer and market trends. Barns is the founder, Second Half Advisors and former CEO, Nielsen Holdings.
Another eminent former speaker is Toyin Sanni, Group CEO, Emerging Africa Capital Group. Sanni is a multiple award-winning business leader and published author who leads groups that provide advisory and capital raising solutions for infrastructure and development across Africa to achieve sustainable economic growth.
Others include Carla Harris, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, a renowned banking expert with extensive industry experiences across several corporate sectors; and Horst Schulze, co-founder of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and a top player in the international hospitality and property industries.