- Sep 24, 2015
When Tim Hockey, EMBA ’97, was just starting his career, he thought leadership was about being smarter and working harder than everybody else. “It’s not about that at all,” he said. “It’s all about everybody else.”
Leadership is less about having all the answers and more about developing, encouraging and listening to others – the softer elements of leadership.
As one of the kickoff events of the year for HBA1 students, Ivey held its annual HBA Leadership Day where students had the opportunity to hear from Hockey and other alumni. The day-long event included an expert panel and case discussions on the topic of developing as a leader.
The Q&A session, moderated by Professor Gerard Seijts, Executive Director, Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership, included Trudy Fahie, HBA ’81, President and CEO, Walmart Canada Bank, EVP Financial Services, Walmart Canada; Jon Hantho, MBA '89, President & CEO, Maxxam Analytics; and Tim Hockey, EMBA ’97, Group Head, Canadian Banking, Auto Finance, and Wealth Management, TD Bank Group and President and CEO TD Canada Trust.
Some of the highlights from the panellists’ discussion included the following:
Hardest lesson to learn…
“My biggest learning was to truly understand that you will never have the all the answers as a leader, nor do you need to have all the answers as a leader. It’s how you influence and guide a team of individuals.”
Developing leadership over time…
“Over time, I’ve become a more strategic leader where I’m a developer of people. It requires you to be much more courageous and bold in how you help people develop. You’re making tough choices and offering feedback that may not be as positive as that individual was hoping for, but it’s all about helping strong performers be even better at what they do and encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone.”
Tactical advice for growing as a leader…
“You should be listening two to three times more than you are talking. You will be a lot more effective as a leader if you do a lot more listening.”
Building and retaining trust…
“As a leader, I know that I’ve been given and have earned trust within my organization. So how I conduct my behavior both in and out of the office really matters. If I lose that trust, I’ve lost my license to lead.”
Gaining the respect of your followers…
“A leader without any followers is just a guy taking a walk. If you have nobody who wants to go with you on the journey, then you’re failing as a leader.”
Continuing to learn as a leader…
“A trusted confidant told me ‘you are feared and revered.’ People don’t judge you on your intentions – they judge you on your actions. I never intended to be feared as a leader, so my intentions and my actions didn’t line up. I’ve been working to change that in interesting and fun ways both in and outside of work.”
In a special mini-case session designed for HBA1, Ivey faculty members led classes through a fictional character’s crucible leadership moment. Students were asked to put themselves in the position of various executives facing tough career decisions involving topics such as ethics, job relocation, gender and cultural barriers, and weak senior management.
To the surprise of the students, after the discussion the case protagonist was revealed to have been based on an Ivey alumnus who was sitting in the room. The alumni introduced themselves to the classes and explained how they resolved the problem described in the case and where they are now because of this difficult leadership challenge.