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As we finally got the first heatwave warning for this year in late June, several international sporting events are on the horizon for this summer. The opening of the Euro 2024, followed by the Tour de France, Wimbledon, and the Olympics, are all set to be spectacular platforms showcasing the peak of human physical fitness. Whether it’s an individual sport or a team game, leadership is a quality that can transcend physical form and determine the outcome of the competition. 

With that in mind, the “Leaders of the Future” forum hosted by the GM Business Growth Hub People team in Manchester city centre on 18th June became the ideal platform for leaders in Greater Manchester to engage in dialogue and gain valuable insight. As one of our June headline events, this in-person City Centre-based event brought together businesses and leaders from Greater Manchester to delve into the key trends and insights shaping the future of leadership. 

Mehdi Kordi, Head of Sprint Performance for the Dutch Cycling Team, was one of the keynote speakers for this significant event. With his extensive experience in international cycling, Mehdi Kordi led the Dutch track cycling team to impressive victories at the Tokyo Olympic Games, securing 3 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze medal. His achievements are a testament to the power of leadership in achieving high performance, a theme he addressed in his keynote speech. 

In his speech, Mehdi shared his coaching experience with the Great Britain and Dutch Cycling teams. He discussed two different types of leadership, focusing on goal-oriented leadership versus building team culture. According to Mehdi, a leader should focus on goals by clearly assigning accountability to the team. Instead of focusing on marginal gains, where the team needed to invest in multiple aspects for limited improvement, they should focus only on those aspects that are actually related to the final performance. 

However, Mehdi also acknowledged that while goal-oriented leadership helped achieve short-term performance goals, it could potentially lead to long-term issues. This is because this style of leadership focuses on rewarding performance rather than focusing on the process and behaviour. As a result, the outcomes achieved may not be sustainable. Mehdi stressed the importance of transitioning from a goal-oriented approach to a focus on building a cohesive team culture in the long run. 

“Having a goal-focused culture is important, but it has its limitations. Longevity can only be achieved by building a strong team culture. As a leader, it’s crucial to recognize the impact of a goal-oriented approach by observing the team’s behaviour. This will signal the need to change leadership styles,” said Mehdi. “Shifting the focus from just results and performance to the process and behaviour, by adjusting motivation, may require long-term investment. However, it will ultimately help build a strong and successful team.”  

Mehdi’s observations were complemented by Azeem Amir, a professional footballer representing England in the international arena of blind football and the founder of the Learn with ESS, an organisation aimed to raise disability awareness through Paralympic sport, who also joined the event as a keynote speaker. Azeem’s unique perspective and experiences in the world of football, combined with his unorthodox business journey, added a valuable layer to the discussion on leadership and its impact on performance. As a champion of the GM Business Growth Hub, Azeem also shared his experience working with different areas of the hub and in particular, his Mentoring match and the impact that it continues to have on his journey.  

“The most important essence of leadership is people management,” said Azeem. “Every player on the team is different and has their own life off the pitch. The leader must carefully observe their team members’ behaviour and understand their motivation through dialogue and interaction. This is the only way to build trust in a relationship and get the right clues in adjusting one’s leadership style.” 

Aaman and Hammas Majid from Sleek Asian, an event management company, attended the event and found it extremely valuable for their business journey. They acquired valuable knowledge from the speaker presentations and explored a wide range of business support services the GM Business Growth Hub offered, which other participants recommended. 

“One of the key learnings for me at today’s event is not to hesitate to ask for help and support in your business journey,” said Aaman. “You can easily find them in Greater Manchester.” 





Looking to improve your leadership skills further and coach your team to success? Keep an eye on our Pure Leadership Series. You can register for these workshops in the link below. Don’t hesitate, as space is limited. 

Business Growth Hub | Inspiring Great Leadership across Greater Manchester with our Pure Leadership workshops



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