We speak to the 2011 Boss of the Year winner, Chris Mukoki, head of secured lending credit granting at Standard Bank.
The 2011 Boss of the Year Awards took place on Friday 14 October at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton. Out of the six finalists, who included Chantyl Mulder, Senior Executive of Transformation at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and Gerald Dumas, MD of Johannesburg Water, Standard Bank's Chris Mukoki took top honours. We chat to Mukoki about being a good boss.
How do you feel about your win?
I am honoured by this recognition. I do not think it is about winning, but it is about taking the role that you have been given seriously and producing results. Winning is usually a one-person gratification and cannot usually be shared with the people around you. So for me, it's more about creating an environment of significance for all people around me. People must know that they have a role to play and they have the leadership to take them there
What, in your opinion, are the three essential qualities of a good boss?
1. Not being self-centered: You need to be a multiplier by cultivating as many people as possible that can emulate you.
2. Being a decision maker: A leader must be able to make decisions. If you can’t make decisions, you affect other people’s lives as everything comes to a standstill. Your people will not have direction as a result on your indecisiveness.
3. Be respectful: A good boss does not throw his weight around. There is a very clear difference between fear and respect. I strive to be respected more than being feared. You have to respect that we don't all come from the same background, education levels, skills, etc. So it is in the environment of respect where you can pick up these things and leverage on the strong points that an individual may have.
Why do you think others perceive you as a good boss?
I try to set an example. I believe that people perceive me a good boss because I am consistent. You don't have to be popular to be a good boss. I am of the opinion that the majority of people have goals in life and what is needed is leadership to assist people in achieving their goals.
Who is the best boss you’ve ever had and how did they impact your leadership style?
The best boss I have ever had is a man called Veran Kathan (Managing Executive: Credit Risk at Vodacom). He taught me to focus on the most important things in any business and look for sustainable solutions. He said workarounds do work for the short- term, but business is not about short-term solutions, but long-term ones that affect many people.
How do you balance your work roles and allocate enough time for all you need to do in a day?
We all have 24 hours in a day, but you should know that there should never be an hour that is reserved for an idle session. It is very important to have a schedule and to stick to it. The most important thing that helps is to empower people who work for you to make decisions on your behalf. But this empowerment does not come cheap, as you have to invest a lot of time into training those people. I always try to remind myself that idling is for cars, not human beings.