GWII Leaderwalk: Be distinct or be extinct

In collaboration with Business Engage and the 30% Club, Gauteng Women in Insurance (GWII) hosted a Leaderwalk on 15 September, with sponsors F&I Insurance, F&I Reinsurance, Marsh and Santam.

Themed Be Distinct or Be Extinct- Femi Adebanji, a sought-after international customer service speaker and organisational excellence speaker with Speakers Inc for over five years shared practical insights on how high-impact leaders effectively “refuel” and invest in themselves.

We cannot be all things to all people

“The pandemic has fundamentally redefined the future of work, evidenced by the rise in virtual teams and the decline in co-location within organisations. Leaders are now faced with the unprecedented challenge of keeping their people motivated, inspired and delivering results, often virtually, while simultaneously dealing with the realities and challenges of the pandemic,” he said.

Following the pandemic and all of the challenges that it has presented, Adebanji said a study revealed that 85% of leaders have seen a decline in their own general wellbeing, while 10% saw an improvement in their wellbeing.

“Leaders are feeling burnt out, stressed and overwhelmed… how much time are leaders taking to take care of their own wellbeing and mental health? Leaders take care of everything and everyone else. But self-care is important. We need to slow down, to think creatively and solve problems. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we become unwell, stressed and cannot manage,” he added.

“Self-care is critical to our success. Sometimes leaders see self-care as a weakness, but it is not. We cannot give 100% to our teams, if we ourselves are not feeling 100%. We need to be aware of what our stress triggers are. We are not superhuman, we are just human. Sometimes we are tired, sometimes we need support. It is okay as a leader to say okay; I just don’t have the answers. Take time to refuel and recharge. Quality down time, sleep, switching off every now and then is fine. Find things that you enjoy and recharge you. We need to have more control over our schedules and work, so that we don’t put so much pressure on ourselves to be all things to all people. We need to set boundaries,” he continued.

“What sets great leaders apart is self-awareness… they have more direction and purpose. Its only when we focus on our own self care that we can be successful and fulfilled. The amount we invest in ourselves… physically, emotionally, and mentally, impacts us and those around us - and just how far we go,” he added.

Impact leaders effectively refuel

“We, as leaders, have to ensure that our cups are all full so that we can take care of our people in our organisations and be sustainable - because then we succeed. We need to be agile and adaptable. We need to excel, survive and thrive,” he said.

In a dynamic, disruptive and challenging world, leading with impact and doing it sustainably means that leaders have no choice but to intentionally and regularly take the time out to focus on themselves, focus on their own self-development and “re-fuel”.

“We all have a choice. Our survival is about the choices we make… we either adapt quickly, rapidly and intelligently, do things differently and put excellence in everything we do to survive and thrive, or we don’t… which will ultimately lead to us, as leaders, being distinct or extinct,” he concluded.

A discussion

We thank our table hosts (below) for accepting our challenge to facilitate discussions:

  1. Antonia Oakes (Old Mutual Insure)
  2. Christelle Colman (Elite Risk Acceptances)
  3. Christine Rodrigues (Bowmans)
  4. Debra Tuohy (Marsh)
  5. Donovan Harvey (F&I Reinsurance)
  6. Glenn Standen (Leppard Underwriting)
  7. Katlego Thaba (Deloitte)
  8. Nox Dlamini (XonRisk)
  9. Portia Mogale (Santam)
  10. Roshael Hoosen (Paton Personnel)
  11. Tebogo Leshilo (Sha Risk Specialists)

In the feedback session, all the table hosts agreed with the comments that Adebanji shared, that setting boundaries and work life balance is critical. We need to take breaks from work and rejuvenate… self-care is important. We schedule meetings and work-related matters… but we do not schedule self-care, we must. We must take care of ourselves.

The table hosts also voiced a similar sentiment, that in the last few months, we have learned a lot, but we have also adapted. People can adapt and change can become normal.

Like Adebanji said… we either adapt quickly, rapidly and intelligently, do things differently and put excellence in everything we do to survive and thrive, or we don’t… which will ultimately lead to us, as leaders, being distinct or extinct.

The event finished off with 10 book prize giveaways which saw 10 ladies walk away with books titled “The 5 AM Club”, by Robin Sharma, based on a revolutionary morning routine that has helped his clients maximize their productivity, activate their best health and bulletproof their serenity in this age of overwhelming complexity.

Thank you

Thank you to all the delegates who attended this event, we hope that the session provided practical insights on how to effectively refuel and invest in yourselves.

Thank you to our sponsors F&I Insurance, F&I Reinsurance, Marsh and Santam for making this event possible!

See photo album here