BINUS Business School

Erick Thohir Shares 6 Ways You Can Build Effective Leadership

Anyone can be a leader, but not everyone excels as a leader. What can be done to build effective leadership? Answering this question, Erick Thohir became the keynote speaker during a BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL ‘CEO Speaks on Leadership’ event in 2018. As a businessman and philanthropist, the current Minister of State-Owned Enterprises since 2019 and the former Chairman of Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee shared his insights on what makes for effective leadership.

Making and Sharing the Vision

All leaders have their own visions. Making a vision is not just about finding out what the company wants to do, but also connecting experience with knowledge. As for Erick Thohir, he shared how his passion, experience, and knowledge in sports led him to have a certain vision in Indonesia’s basketball scene.

It all started in 1999 when Mahaka Group held a corporate social responsibility program by giving scholarships through a foundation supervised by the government. However, they decided to aim their funding to the younger generation, specifically young aspiring athletes. By investing in Indonesian basketball, Erick gained experience in leading a sports team. “From there, my experience grew into a vision that basketball in Indonesia would thrive. This is not a vision that came to me suddenly.”

Leading by Example

Most of the time, leadership and arrogance are separated by a very thin line. True and effective leadership understands the importance of becoming a role model for the team. This is what leading by example means, letting the passion for work inspire and motivate the team to follow the leader’s example. Erick gave an example of how he worked from the early morning until late at night so his team could follow their leader.

Moreover, Erick said that leading by example could spark a sense of ownership in the team. A company does not only belong to the leader, but all employees should feel that they belong in that company and that the company’s success is a part of their collective achievement.

Demonstrating Integrity

It is important to not only have integrity but also to demonstrate integrity to the public. Erick displayed his integrity through his leadership in INASGOC 2018. Even though Erick had several newspaper, television, radio, and event organizer companies, he made sure that none of his companies joined the tender for the Asian Games 2018. For him, allowing his companies to be vendors of Asian Games 2018 would create a conflict of interest. By affirming and displaying integrity, a leader can gain respect and more opportunities in the future.

Communicating Effectively

Good communication is done by two or more parties with the same understanding. One would listen, while the other talked. This is the very basis that anyone must follow, including and most specifically leaders. “We as leaders must communicate directly to our team. What is the real issue? We listen, not command”.

Another example would be Erick’s experience when he had to explain his vision of the Asian Games 2018 to the public at Jagakarsa, South Jakarta. If he talked about the Asian Games as he usually would in front of the government, the public would not connect to his ideas. So he made the presentation more interactive by throwing questions to the audience like, “What is the difference between Asian Games and SEA Games?” Therefore, the key to effective communication and leadership is understanding the audience.

Being Brave to Make Hard Decisions

Leadership is not always rainbows and butterflies. The hardest challenge is to be able to make hard decisions, fast. “We can never run away from problems, as it will only delay the problems.” A leader should not be afraid to make tough decisions. However, all decisions that a leader makes should always prioritize the greater good, not personal satisfaction. Erick decided to sell his personal investment to save his growing company’s cash flow. The result? Now, the company is growing stronger than ever.

Appreciating and Empowering Your Team

Humans, by nature, love to be appreciated. The same applies to Erick, and anyone else on Earth. Erick highlighted that leaders should always be aware of their team’s achievements and efforts. A great leader is not without a great team working alongside them. It is also important to delegate important tasks to the team as a way to empower them. “We must always motivate and inspire our team to compete in business. It’s not just about profit anymore, it’s all about domination, just like sports.” **(PID)