Entrepreneur, storyteller, author, philanthropist and adventurer Nathan Farrugia leads Vistage in Malta and the UAE, drives the UP executive training academy and UN Limited events, and is a board member at Inspire, the Academy of Givers, the Lino Spiteri Foundation and others. As such, he has a front row seat to the pros and cons of long-term leadership.

“The world has advanced significantly in many respects,” Nathan shares. “However, leadership – the ability to inspire and transform – still depends on human traits such as empathy, courage, focus and humility. The main difference today is the impact a business leader has on society and their ability to influence change both globally and locally, economically, politically and socially. This is a privilege we shouldn’t take lightly.”

Having recently celebrated 67 years in business, Vistage is an example of the power of consistency and focus on purpose, he goes on. “That focus helps the leader to grow and make the right decisions; a leader who is human, carrying significant responsibility and expectations, and often alone. As a peer group network, a global and local community helps share the burden of leadership and create positive impact.”

Even with such a support network, good leadership depends both on the individual and timing, says Nathan. “A leader that has high self-awareness can adapt to change from start-up to scale-up and enjoy success. Choosing the right people at the right time, as the business evolves, is key.”

And when it comes to timing, sometimes the time is right to change. “A leader must always put the customer and team’s needs first – and if they are doing a disservice to these elements of the business, then there needs to be a change. At the end of the day, this isn’t about ‘falling on one’s sword’, but having a mature understanding of ‘fit for purpose’. A good leader should start their succession plan the first day on the job,” he concludes. “Perhaps the greatest leaders are the ones that accepted change and reinvented themselves in a different business or industry or shifted roles. Staying power is useful to a point, so long as you stay relevant with the times you live in.”

This feature was first carried in the MaltaCEOs 2023 print publication, the sister brand to MaltaCEOs.mt, both produced by Content House Group

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