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General News of Tuesday, 3 October 2017


Integrity ‘most important ingredient’ of leadership – Bernard Avle

Host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Avle, has spoken of the need for young leaders to retain the positive qualities they display in public in their personal lives as well.

Speaking in an interview as part of a series focusing on Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Under 40 on the African continent, Mr. Avle emphasized the importance of ensuring that a person’s personal beliefs and actions were comparable to their public persona.

“As a leader, you need to make sure there’s synchronicity between what you do privately and what you say privately. If you come on air and have a posture of integrity and being uncompromisingly honest, it must show in everything you do,” he said in an interview.

“The most important ingredient of leadership is integrity. Once it’s lost, you’ve lost the basis of leadership because I’ve played out my leadership in the public sphere, it’s been a big challenge to do so that’s what I keep striving for and I keep hoping I improve on.”

According to him, having positive values and principles in a team was more crucial to achieving success than just ability.

“If you have a team of 17 broadcasters who believe they weren’t going to be corrupt and under no circumstances were they going to take a bribe, that’s stronger than having 700 talented people with no principles. If you look at things that have stood the test of time, they are things that have, at their heart, principles. If you put first things first and you have certain values that you go through before you take action, those principles will take you further than brute force.”

The host of the award-winning Citi Breakfast Show who graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Ghana and has an MBA from the Warwick Business School in the UK, said he cherished his time in the University where, aside from his academic exploits, he was able to build up his leadership credentials.

“It wasn’t just about the books. I was doing radio on campus for four years, I was doing radio politics and I was heading a church on campus, but I needed to get a first class to prove a point. I knew that the modern leader wasn’t one-dimensional. I knew that University is the best training ground for leadership so I stretched myself to do a lot,” Bernard Avle said.

“I had to go [to Warwick] because as you rise in an organisation in your field, the leadership call gets heavier and I thought an MBA was important because I needed to understand how people behaved. Even though it was a general MBA, I think the most important lesson I learnt from the Warwick experience was working with people. People management and getting along with people who are very competitive was the most important lesson; understanding how other people work. In retrospect, my Warwick MBA gave me a certain sense of people that if you need to rise to levels of leadership, you must understand how to get along with people and get people to do things with you.”

‘Good questions lead to positive change’

Bernard Avle, who’s also the Director of News and Programming at Citi FM, has received widespread commendation for his interview style on the Citi Breakfast Show, and he admitted that he puts a lot of effort into his questions as he believes better queries by media could drive positive change particularly in developing countries.

“Being on radio or being in the media is a leadership position; that means you are influential. I think the most important thing in the world is a question. Questions drive conversations. As a human being, you need to have conversations with yourself, with people around you and with your God. The key components of those conversations are questions. The better the quality of your questions, the better the outcomes of your life. For example in Africa, why are we where we are? Why are we exporting gold and cocoa raw? If you ask the questions with the intentions of getting change, you’ll change things,” he said.

“To be influential in the media, you need to ask questions. I frame my journalism style around questions. The better journalists learn to engage questions, the better results they’ll get and the better change we’ll see. ‘Reason may answer questions, but it takes imagination to ask them’ – I respect the questioner more than the one answering it…People underestimate the power of the media and waste the space. If I get the opportunity, I talk about how young people can use the power of media to get results. Radio, television, newspaper and social media get results.”

‘Listening is key’

Bernard Avle also spoke about the need for journalists to balance the questions they ask with the information they consume, through listening, which he believes improves the quality of their interrogations.

“You can’t be a great questioner if you don’t listen. It takes active quality listening to generate information to ask questions. You can’t do media without remembering names. The nicest thing in a person’s ear is their name. you need to be open and friendly. In media, you have a platform, and to do media well you need to connect with people. I’ve been lucky with my 11 years in media; it’s helped me to connect.”

Watch the full interview with Bernard Avle below