Leadership Expert Yvonne Johnston Answers Five Critical Questions

She talks about “authentic success”, “paradigm shifters” and “consciousness coaching” and has been appointed to do Leadership and Self Mastery skills work with the Miss South Africa Pageant finalists.

Yvonne has agreed to answer some questions about leadership.

Q: What does it take to be a leader? Is leadership a reward that is only bestowed on the elite few or is it something we can learn?

A: Aaah! It is DEFINITELY something you can learn. So, openness to NOT being right, openness to NOT having all the answers, openness to LISTEN, are fundamental skills. A leader must learn to delegate and provide feedback in a manner that empowers. Too many people destroy the people around them, mainly driven by ego. I often wonder why?

Being able to clearly communicate a vision, direction, ability to make decisions and all of this underpinned by a lack of people pleasing, and authenticity. I also think that the ability to be vulnerable and empathetic is moving into centre stage as a required skill for leadership.

Q:  Even hard working and committed people tend to get in their own way when it comes to success and leadership. What are the main obstacles we tend to stumble over?

A: Trying to be nice! So that people like you. The inability to hold people accountable. The inability to put boundaries and consequences in place. Allowing too much stuff to become overwhelming – so I suppose a lack of time management. Lack of clarity; Too many unspoken expectations…. Oh there is a whole lot!

Q:  Small businesses are closing down all around us and people are feeling helpless. What do business owners and entrepreneurs need to do to get their business moving in the right direction.

A: So many things, but probably the most important one is to move into a completely authentic space, take a long hard look at the business, are the correct processes and structures in place, do you treat the business like a business or like a hobby? Who are you BEING in the business. Are your prices correct? And what is your level of self-respect and self-belief. Money is attracted by self-love. Clients are attracted by self-belief.

Yes businesses are closing, but many of them were badly run before the pandemic. Time to re-align. Time to learn the skills to do things differently. Time to take FULL responsibility; Time to be creative and think laterally. The same level of thinking will not move you out of this mess.

Q: It’s Women’s Month so we need to talk about that extra ingredient that women entrepreneurs and leaders need to have to succeed on the big stage.

A: For me, it is the same ingredients: I don’t see a difference between male and female entrepreneurs. Sure, women overall may bring a kinder heart, but so do many men. In the end, the requirements are the same. I have never felt a glass ceiling for more than a moment – and then I did not welcome or tolerate it. I have been in business for 42 years and yes the refrain from women has not changed! Stop it! Move into the board rooms and lean in to talk about more than women’s issues – that is just boring and is not going to move the business forward. MOVE the business forward, then you will be taken seriously. In the end for me it is what you ALLOW.  Don’t accept a job at a lower pay scale and then complain! Push for what you are worth.

Many years ago, I was walking down the passage of my ad agency and the MD passed me and as he did, he said, “ A woman will never sit on my Board”. Ten minutes later he had my resignation on his desk! He was astonished and confused….” Why are you doing this?” “Why, …. why would I, an ambitious, hard working woman stay in a company where it had already been decided to limit me because of my gender!”. I was out of there! I have done this on two other occasions in my life….. I just wouldn’t allow myself to be treated like that.

Q: Why do you and your Firepower business partner Violetta call yourselves paradigm shifters. How does this tie n with leadership?

The world has changed, and if the way we lead does not change then you are going to be redundant and left behind. We need to challenge all old established ways of doing things and do them differently to get different result.

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