Mike Semanco has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. He has helped hundreds of companies obtain financing and has also coached and educated entrepreneurs on financing products and structures that best fit their need. Here he shares some thoughts on leadership, a few of the challenges facing today’s leaders, and offers his insights for success.
1. What are the most pressing challenges that leaders are facing today? And why?
There are many challenges facing today’s leaders. The business climate continues to be competitive, forcing strategic changes. Delivering business results must be balanced with developing a culture of personal growth and satisfaction. Importance must be placed on creating a diverse workforce by mentoring and educating the next generation, as well as helping seasoned staff learn new ways. Communication is a must, as it builds trust and relationships; leaders cannot survive without it.
2. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Although leadership takes all different forms, it is always about being accountable to yourself and others. Being a leader is owning the process and the results (both good and bad), and having the willingness to adapt and change. Whether you have experience in a leadership position, or are leading a project for the first time, remember that leadership is about continuous learning. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will become stronger by building relationships with your team, being collaborative, learning from others, and being open to new ideas.
3. What are some characteristics and/or qualities you believe every leader should possess?
In order to build relationships and trust, it is important to have strong listening and communication skills. Leaders also need to be decisive, and have a strong initiative to step out of their comfort zone to take on something new. They should be strategic by developing goals for the immediate and long term, then constantly revisiting those goals. A strong leader must be able to adapt to changing surroundings, interacting and connecting with many different personalities or situations. Successful leaders bring out the best in others by motivating, teaching, coaching, and demonstrating their own ethics and integrity.
4. What has been your most important achievement as a business leader?
My most important achievement as a business leader has been using my experiences to help my kids as they progress in life and their careers. I share my own successes and failures so that they can apply them to situations they will encounter today and in the future.
5. What are the characteristics and actions that you used to get to where you are today?
Hopefully over the next stage of my career, I can continue to grow and add to these, but I would say determined, adaptable, reliable, analytical, and methodical are traits of mine which have served me well.