Lee Piccoli – Founder & CEO of Fusion Ventures and Fusion Homes
What is your definition of Leadership?
The most important attribute of a successful leader is leading by example – this is a cliché that is much harder to put into practice than it seems. First, you have to ask yourself who you are as a leader. This defines the way you manage and operate your business, and ultimately how you want your employees to perform. Second, and most importantly, you must understand that it is your actions that define you, not your words. Empower your people, but don’t be afraid to carry the team when they need you.
What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?
Empathy and self-awareness are crucial to becoming a successful leader. Empathy, for one, is such an underrated quality. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are holding people while they cry (although sometimes it does), but it means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and understanding their perspective. You can’t help someone grow without having empathy for them, and that is even more true today given the current climate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to empathize with your team during this time, while everyone has different realities and perspectives, is essential.
How do you encourage the development of your employees?
We have a saying in our company “own your growth”, which I think is important to encourage within any team. My job as a leader is to help my people identify their superpowers and paint a picture of what their future could look like. By helping them self-identify the gaps between their aspirations and their skills, they can be kept accountable for their development.
What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
This is a difficult time for businesses and there is a lot of uncertainty, so it’s important to think three moves ahead and plan for maximum flexibility in the future. With each decision, carefully consider what you would do next under a wide range of outcomes and work backward from those outcomes to guide your decision today.
Communicating with authenticity, transparency and empathy is also crucial during this time. Stay away from corporate-speak and communicate with real words, be honest and take accountability for your decisions and why you are making them and be intentional with your words.
Lastly, support your people. As a leader, you need to be strong for your team and as I mentioned earlier – don’t be afraid to carry the team when they need you.