“My views on leadership have changed quite substantially over the years,” begins Mikela Fenech Pace, whose professional background has included extensive diplomatic service with the Government and joining Malta’s leading response team to the 2011 Libya crisis. “Over time and through my various roles, I have redefined what leadership means to me, moving away from the prescriptive model to a more personalised and unique approach. What has changed is my definition of success.”
When it comes to whether a founder CEO is always the company’s right leader, Mikela believes that it depends on the individual. “I have never believed in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers when looking at individuals,” she affirms. “The word ‘founder’ comes with a plethora of attachment issues and emotions that cannot and should not be pushed aside. In an ideal scenario, any founder CEO – or CEO, for that matter – should be working to make themselves redundant in their job, as this is the only way they can foster a culture of development, growth and innovation across their company. A crucial factor will always remain the ability to identify the next generation of leaders that share the same passion and understanding of the business as the founder.
“However, a founder CEO may find it difficult to let go or to keep up with the pace required for expansion or change. And if they do recognise the need to remain curious, keep a check on the impact of their leadership style on those around them, and have the courage to manage change, then they may well be the right person to lead the future of a company.”
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He was the entrepreneur who brought the Toyota car brand to Europe more than 60 years ago.