Boyce Lloyd, CEO of KWV, has led many management teams in diverse continents, from Africa to South America; in countries from South Africa to Nigeria, to Honduras. Needless to say he has much to offer when it comes to understanding the universal human truths regarding business leadership and the psychology of genuine employee engagement.
However, the stories of how Lloyd ended up in these far flung and different environments in the first place, also speaks volumes about his own psychology. When his notoriously tough South African Breweries boss (and mentor) threw down the gauntlet to a young Lloyd, he unhesitatingly snatched it up and landed himself in Nigeria, setting up a business to build a production plant in Angola. This was a complex task in which he clearly acquitted himself well enough to later be posted in Honduras as the SABMiller MD, and subsequently as Commercial & Strategy Director (SVP) for the Africa Division.
While Lloyd responds well to tough challenges and ‘adventures’ as he calls them, he maintains that a leader’s most important quality is the ability to practice self reflection and highly recommends being able to ‘phone a friend’ when one needs perspective. The reason that he feels perspective is so important is because it’s not about the business leader as an individual, “…it’s all about the employee and it’s all about them having a meaningful job that makes them feel that they matter… if they have a meaningful job, they’ll be do better in their job, they’ll be more productive, they will enhance the returns of the business.”
In fact he is an ardent proponent of business leaders knowing who to listen to, how to ask the questions that will help them to truly engage, and what questions to ask. He also passionately advises, “Have the humility to listen, to shut down your defenses and to explore…” He is definitely not a fan of leaders who ask questions or interrogate their own performance in an echo chamber.
In this Quick Insight, extracted from a full length in-depth video interview, Lloyd discusses the techniques he has developed to engage meaningfully with his workforce and peers.