All of us want to be good leaders, but never clearly know how to become one. We know that a wise man is one who learns from mistakes of others, but more than that, what is more important is to learn from your own mistakes. Willis Langford, HR Director, Avnet shares his exciting journey of ups and downs and leadership skills learned from the industry for 25+ years with Ankita KS from EFY Group. This is something worth a read…
Q: Over your 20+ years of experience at Avnet and 5+ years in the industry as a whole, what are the key mistakes that you have seen made by the candidates looking for a job? What would your advice be to them?
A: Each candidate is unique and interesting in their own way. It is a perspective and hence cannot be termed as wrong. However, given the changing times, a few points candidates may choose to avoid like seeking instantaneous feedback on selection. This may be misconstrued as anxious and lack of patience. Secondly, some candidates make the biggest mistake of presenting how they could benefit from the organization rather than focusing primarily on what would the organization benefit from their presence.
Q: How do you motivate your team at Avnet? What is your style? and what leadership skills are essential? Any mantras that helped you be recognized by Forbes as “The Great People Managers 2019”?
I focus on the basics – being there for your team without taking away their credit. In short, I encourage my team members to be like trapeze artists who showcase their talent, capability and get all the credit after their performance, though their confidence could have well been boosted from their safety harness hooked on to their waist. I always like to be that safety harness – invisible to the rest of the world, but well-known to my team member that I am there for them if they fall.
We walk the talk when it comes to ethics. We are proud that not just our managers, but all employees have this ideology and practice it always. For our continued commitment to these core values, Avnet has been recognized as one of the 2019 World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere® Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.
We have been certified “Great Place To Work” by the Great Place To Work Institute® for the second successive year in addition to being recognized as ‘Company that has Great People Managers’. All this is a testimony to having a passionate team and I am glad to help them be engaged and motivated.
Q: Can you describe your current role? What are the things that excite you–about this role?
A: The biggest advantage of growing in an organization over two decades is visible from the many areas you contribute in a strategic way to the business. Today, my role as an HR Director and Human Resources Business Partner broadly encompass supporting business growth initiatives, leadership development, leadership succession, HR business intelligence and more. The biggest mantra that has kept me up and relevant during this period was to constantly embrace change by treading untrodden paths and I continue to do so and learn every day.