Keeper Solutions Leadership Series – In Conversation with Mihaela Smadilo

This is the first series of articles on the topic of Leadership, where we will be in conversation with Mihaela Smadilo.

Mihaela Smadilo, Head of Service Delivery and Talent at Keeper Solutions, is an experienced business leader and HR director. Mihaela has over 20 years’ HR experience across a broad range of industries and is passionate about leadership, culture, and diversity. We caught up with Mihaela to discuss her knowledge of leadership and what it means for organizations.

To kick off the series, we discussed Leadership as a skill set. We explored the topic of ‘how to build and teach teams leadership skills’ in order to create a robust and innovative work environment.

FinTech Outsourced Software Development

The Value of Positive Leadership  

Leaders are essential for organizations to thrive. Leadership inspires teams and fosters a positive, inclusive, and innovative environment where people can blossom and reach their full potential. Leadership is often misunderstood as a natural trait and an inherent gift. With phrases like “born- leader” and “natural leader” commonly bandied around, it’s easy to believe that this is so. Like any other professional skill or characteristic, leadership can come easier to some people.. However, it’s important not to forget that leadership is a skill that can be taught and more importantly, learned. 

Mihaela outlines the typical characteristics required to embody the true meaning of leadership. These include traits like empathy, courage, sincerity, patience, positivity, and creativity. These attributes can be difficult to acquire. However, skill sets that cultivate these traits can be taught. 

Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, identified four areas of courage that can be taught to people to nurture leadership. These areas include:

                    1. Embracing vulnerability.
                    2. Understanding and practicing values.
                    3. Building trust in teams and self-trust.
                    4. Dealing with or overcoming setbacks.

Companies can incorporate this type of training within their employee development process so that teams can develop these characteristics and a robust leadership skill set. 

Keeper Solutions Outsourced Software Development Partner

Practicing Leadership at All Levels of Seniority

Mihaela identified leaders across all roles and levels of experience. Typically, the more experienced team members with good communication skills become problem solvers. Along with this, their extensive knowledge allows them to support other team members and transition between projects and products. Mihaela highlighted that leadership is more likely to form at a senior level because the skills set required for good leadership are practiced regularly at this level. However, it is often evident at lower levels on the seniority ladder. 

Daniel Goleman, Ph.D. Psychologist and New York Times bestselling author, says leadership style has a 70% impact on an organization’s climate which in turn impacts business performance. 

Mihaela outlined that it is important to encourage team members at all levels to practice good leadership skills because the benefits of good leadership are evident across every aspect of the business. Good leadership can impact everything from building and managing client relationships. It can help in identifying teams’ strengths and weaknesses and understanding client’s project requirements. Leadership is also vital when it comes to mentoring, guiding team members, making firm decisions, practicing accountability, and recognising the work of teammates. All of which contribute to a creative, effective, and engaging culture. 

In our next Leadership conversation with Mihaela, we will discuss the importance of Mentorship for an organization, building teams, professional and personal development at every level of the org structure. 

A huge thank you to Mihaela for taking part in this series. Lots more to come!

Want to learn more from our team. Check out some of our employee spotlights:

Can You C# The Future? An Interview with Kristijan Kralj

Employee Spotlight: Q&A with Keeper Solutions CTO, Nick Holme

Employee Spotlight: Q&A with Giovanni Bonessa From our Costa Rica Centre