The 3 C’s of leadership — Yemi Faseun [Interview]

Yemi is the HR head at Globacom, a telecommunications firm. He is an elected leadership council member, at the Chartered institute of personal management in Nigeria. He is also a member of the technical advisory board, at the institute of work and family integration. We are extremely happy and honored to have someone of his stature on our interview series.

Vanessa Rose

We have the pleasure of welcoming Yemi Faseun today to our interview series. I’m Vanessa Rose from the peopleHum team. Let’s begin with just a quick intro of PeopleHum — peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work.‍‍

We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month.


Welcome Yemi, we’re thrilled to have you.


Thank you very much. I’m really, really happy to be here. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. Thank you very much.


So Yemi, could you tell us a little bit about your inspiration to stay and work with the Human resources department for such a long time?


Okay, so let me see. It’s been how many years now? About 22 years in human resources. But I always give a brief history of my career. I started in sales. I went into marketing and then I moved into HR. Once I got into HR, I found love in HR and I decided to stay with it. But I must tell you though that at some point in my career when I was at Standard Chartered as the sourcing manager, the recruitment manager at the bank, there was the role that was available of a sales manager and I decided to take it.

I left HR again to do sales, but it was just for one year. After one year, I ran back to HR. So really, what has kept me within the space of HR, I think it’s the opportunity to learn something new and different about human beings on a daily basis. Well, there was something I posted on LinkedIn a couple of months ago. I said HR is neither a science nor an art. It is a scientific art, and that’s because we are dealing with people.

I mean, if you look at the employee life cycle from start to finish, how you deal with Samantha is going to be different from how you deal with Yemi in the recruitment process. In the Talent management process, how you deal with one is different from how you deal with another. The exit process is the same thing. So it’s an opportunity on a daily basis to learn how we invent our knowledge about people, our workplaces. That keeps me going. I want to learn something new on a daily basis.


That is such an interesting journey of how you found your love in HR.

So Yemi, What do you believe is an ideal workplace culture?


Okay, so you’re talking to somebody who has worked in about 10 organizations. And, I am now on the eleventh with my recent joining of Globacom. So, an ideal culture is one that puts the employees and the employer on the same pedestal in terms of importance to the business. We all bring something to the table. The employer is looking for talent who are gonna help build the business. The talent or the employees are looking for organizations where they can express themselves from a skill, knowledge, and experience perspective.

So the ideal culture is one that recognizes the input of both parties to the enterprise so that people can therefore not just survive but thrive and my belief is that when the culture is right and people thrive then the organization itself will thrive. So the ideal culture is calling a lot of leadership into question. If the right leadership exists, I believe that the right culture will exist. So culture doesn’t start with human resources, it starts with leadership.

When the culture is right and people thrive then the organization itself will thrive. Culture doesn’t start with human resources, it starts with leadership.

Because if there is no buying an outright inspiration from leadership, then there’s little or nothing HR can do. I once said that transformational HR is not possible without inspirational leadership. The two must merge and walk together to have the ideal culture so that employees can thrive in the business. And do you know what happens when employees don’t thrive? They dive. They go jump from the organization and move on.

So the right culture is one that recognizes a place of the employer and the employee in this marriage of some sorts and therefore walks to the point where both parties are balanced in terms of expectations, deliverables and also rewards


Just talking about leadership, what are the qualities in leaders that will enable organizations to thrive in these uncertain times and how do you see leadership evolving in the future?


Now, times are really uncertain and very unprecedented right and I have said this in other firms before, leading in times of crisis is not possible without empathy. What leaders need to bring to the forefront of their abilities at this time is empathy. We are all working from home. And home is where the kids are, where the husband is, where the wife is, where everything is going on around us at the same time and the employer or leader is asking for KPI deliverables another.

It’s tough for everybody, and I do admit that it’s also tough for the organizations. Organizations are losing money, especially the businesses that have to do it with contact with people on. If the world is in isolation, then It means that we cannot thrive as a present. However, within the limits of what is possible through technology, right?

We’re doing all we can do to make sure that business is still a great on son. So what leadership treats, what leadership character we need at this time is one of empathy. Everything rises and falls on leadership according to macho on. That’s the reality. Every stream leadership rises and falls on communication. The workforce needs the right sort of communication at this time to keep them going, to encourage them.

And communication timing is also important. What we see is what time to the workforce It’s so, so critical at this time. So the three C’s of leadership, competence, character and care. We need those three right now in the world more than at any other time in history. We want leaders who are competent. They understand that business.

We want people were care. They understand people. We want leaders to have character, people we can trust. The single most important currency any leader can spend at this point in time is trust. You’ve got to gain the trust of the workforce by what you say and what you do at the time that you say I do those things. So in summary, the three C’s are competence, care, and also character very important. And like I said, trust is the key to leadership. Especially during this crisis.


So Yemi, according to you, what is the extent to which technology has disrupted Human Resources Management?


Okay, So this is you and I having a conversation. Where are you? India, Right? And I am in illegals, Nigeria. This is what technology can allow us to do. Now do I still need to bring a candidate from India to Nigeria to interview for a role?. No, I don’t. So the disruption that is taking place in the field of HR is total.

It impacts every lever of the Human Resource function. How we attract people has changed. I don’t know what’s gonna change going forward as well. How will you want people? How we do Performance management has changed. Performance Management is come to work, do work. I see you on a daily basis. I see your output.

But nobody sees anybody anymore. We’re all online. Work is from home. Reports are from home, meetings are from home. Everything is everywhere. Do you know what I mean? So the way we, therefore, manage the challenge in the business from an employee lifecycle perspective has totally changed our performance, the money-making process will change, or has changed.

I am so sorry for the line-managers who micromanage their employees. They need to see them that they’re working, they need to meet them every time. But right now the employees are home. The manager is at home.

How do you do performance management? How do you still see that the employees are contributing to the business? Technology is disrupting all of that right now. So we’re all in the space where if you do not use technology to advance the career of human resources, we are going to be dinosaurs in no time.

Look at the space of learning and development. Learning has moved from a classroom strictly now to online. And some of us have been combusting this new way of living for like, two or three years talking about the future. What? Nobody is listening? Where some people listened, some did not, but right now, COVID-19 happened and we are all learning in the flow of life. We’re not waiting to get work before we learn. We’re not getting to the classroom before we learn.

Learning is on a webinar every day. So let me say that we’re not going to go back to the child’s life where learning was in the classroom, that has totally changed. So every area of the human resource function has been disrupted by technology.

And the good thing is that I see the positives. It actually allows us to be more efficient, right? Look at learning, for instance, If I’m gonna do a three day learning with a renowned organization in Nigeria, I probably will cough up to around 50,000 nairas. I would pay for the venue.

I’ll pay for food, lunch, I’ll pay for two tea breaks. One in the morning, one after lunch. Nobody’s paying for anything anymore, all you need to before is data and learning is taking place. So it’s a good thing I did not see any disadvantage. Technology has helped us within the space of HR to deliver more efficiently to the business.


But it depends on how fast organizations really adapt to this change.


That’s where agility comes in. I mean, the agile business or enterprise or organization is the one that would be at the forefront of quickly reaping the benefits of technology.


So, Yemi, do you have any important sound like you like to leave users?


Okay, so let me leave you with what I said this morning on my WhatsApp status. We should not sacrifice credibility and authenticity on the platform of speed. So many people I know, hurry now to deliver, to be seen to be delivering, especially on social media. Everybody is an expert. Everybody is something. But speed is of no essence If it leads us to the wrong destination. I think what we should concentrate on first is depth, knowledge, credibility. Then we will be authentic over a period of time.

We need a road map to where we want to be. So many people say if you can see it, you can get it. I say no if you can see it. Our wolf boy through a process over a period of time, you will get it. Time tells the full story. And for everyone who is listening to me across the world. It’s a difficult time for people, a difficult time for some families.

People have lost their jobs. People are witnessing salary reduction. Some people are not even sure if they are gonna go back to work or not. My words are ‘just breathe’. Take time to breathe. The birds will sing again. Things will change back to normal. Thank you.


That was really positive and really amazing advice, Yemi. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time and sharing your views with us! It’s been an enriching learning experience for me personally and will surely be for our viewers too.


It’s my pleasure. Thank you for seeking me out. I am actually very humbled now. You sought me out to speak with you. Thank you so much.


It’s our pleasure, Yemi.



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