Ufuk Tandoğan, CEO Garanti BBVA Romania: “If you want to be a good leader, you must never push a certain perspective, but rather listen to your team`s ideas when making a decision”
“When a crisis strikes, we tend to respond instinctively, but not always an impulse is the right answer. I believe that leaders can remain on top of these challenges by focusing on some skills.
Thus, a leader must communicate well with his team, especially in times of crisis. He is the one that has to make sure that people know and understand what they have to do and when delivering difficult news to be direct and honest. In addition, there must be a two-way communication, and the leader must learn to listen,” Ufuk Tandoğan, CEO Garanti BBVA Romania told The Diplomat-Bucharest.
“The leader must always think strategically and watch over the problems from different perspectives. He has to work with his team, listen to them, in order to understand their problems and take decisions accordingly. My advice: if you want to be a good leader, you must never push a certain perspective, but rather listen to your team`s ideas when making a decision.”
What leadership skills do you find most useful in the current changing work environment?
The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed our lives and is affecting our careers too. Therefore, in business, we must always be aware that every leader can face a major crisis throughout his career.
When a crisis strikes, we tend to respond instinctively, but not always an impulse is the right answer. I believe that leaders can remain on top of these challenges by focusing on some skills.
Thus, a leader must communicate well with his team, especially in times of crisis. He is the one that has to make sure that people know and understand what they have to do and when delivering difficult news to be direct and honest. In addition, there must be a two-way communication, and the leader must learn to listen.
Flexibility is a very important quality in times of crisis and a manager must be flexible to redesign whatever plans he had before. Moreover, he must be able to act quickly, even if he does not have all the information or resources. In times of crisis, rapid action is extremely important and can sometimes even save the organization.
I also believe that a leader should be hardworking and a very good team player, since we cannot do anything without a united team. And, last but not least, I strongly consider that self-improvement is another vital element, because business life is changing very fast and professionals should follow the industry, their company, their business, their country, and also global trends. Afterwards, they should think about how to apply these changes in their companies.
Which are the empowering mindsets for building the sense of meaning & purpose, both for employers and employees, to keep each other engaged in reaching the business objectives in 2020 and in the next year?
Our bank is part of a renowned global financial group, so the strategy is built around both Garanti and BBVA values: the customer comes first, we think big, we are one team. Therefore, our strategy has always been customer centric. Making our clients happy and satisfied with our products and services has been from the start the main principle around which we have built our set of values. We put great emphasis on the way we connect with our clients and we encourage all our team members to embrace a morality of care, making sure that our customer’s needs come first. In this regard, we focus on bringing the best financial solutions on the market.
Additionally, we believe that the leader must always think strategically and watch over the problems from different perspectives. He has to work with his team, listen to them, in order to understand their problems and take decisions accordingly. My advice: if you want to be a good leader, you must never push a certain perspective, but rather listen to your team`s ideas when making a decision.
What should be a CEO’s and leader’s power message on business resilience conveyed to peers, partners, and employees for 2021, in order to enhance the trust and engagement?
As I said before, communication is very important and perhaps even critical in times of crisis. That is why I believe that leaders must address their messages transparently. Even if we are talking about partners, employees or customers, the leader should communicate sincerely and empathetically. Showing empathy and sending a message of hope can foster resilience in facing the challenges that lie ahead.
Moreover, frequent communication reduces fear and uncertainty whether we are talking about business partners, employees, or customers.
In Garanti BBVA, we have established a multi-channel communication plan to address all our key stakeholders by using our social network pages, Internet Banking applications, visuals in our branch network, as well as direct communication with our clients through our relationship management team.
Since the pandemic has changed people`s lives during recent months and because there is a lot of uncertainty ahead, people are looking to their leaders more than ever for guidance and support. This is why the leaders’ messages play an important role in determining how the organizations perform not only now, but also after the pandemic ends.
How can a CEO and leader of an organization capitalize on the current challenges to enhance and promote the company’s competition advantages currently?
I believe that during this period of economic uncertainty, you need to make every effort to be with your customers, listen to their needs and to bring on the market tailored and customized products and services.
This way you show your customers that you care about their needs, and, at the same time, you make sure your business stays afloat.
As in previous years, in 2020 we communicated openly with our customers, we have informed them that constantly that we are doing every effort to keep them safe and we are aware of their needs. The clients have known all this time that they are important to us and that we are working to come up with personalized solutions.
Which are the current concerns of a CEO / leader in 2020? Which are the hopes for 2021?
The main challenge of a leader in 2020 is certainly to ensure business continuity and growth. Yet, driving and sustaining growth is especially difficult to achieve in this environment. In order to overcome the difficulties of the economic context and generate growth despite the pandemic, leaders have to really understand the current specificities of the market in which they operate and the change in buyer needs, wants, and behaviours. Now, more than ever, we need to learn our customers` needs and create personalized products and services, to help them overcome this difficult period.
Moreover, I believe that one of the biggest challenges will remain the fight to attract and retain talents. Regardless of a company’s size or industry, the leaders will constantly be looking for ways to retain top talent and recruit good people, but now they will have to be more strategic in their efforts to recruit and retain top talent. Many companies are already struggling to find employees who have the skills in the right areas for their jobs.
What kind of innovative measures and inclusive leadership initiatives have been applied within your organization this year, to better cope with the current context and bring the business forward in 2021?
During this period, we had two priorities: caring for our employees and customers. We offered our customers solutions to overcome this period and, at the same time, we adapted as we went to a new way of working, “work from home”. In order to deal with the pandemic effects, Garanti BBVA established a crisis response structure with dedicated work streams, clear responsibilities and plans aimed to simultaneously protect our staff and our clients.
The bank’s workflows and procedures were adapted to the new context: teleworking and digital solutions were extensively utilized by our staff. We managed daily business in an agile manner by quickly adapting to technologies for video conferences and other forms of digital collaboration, with very effective results.
In this process, managers have always been available for their peers, answered their questions, and the empathy with which they treated people`s fears gave confidence to others. Employee engagement is particularly important for team motivation. Engaged employees tend to be more enthusiastic, passionate, and positive about their work.