Expert Advice of the Month: On leadership—what it means, why it’s important


This month we talk with Zaida Fazlic, director, people and culture at Taiga Building Products, the national building materials wholesaler. This will be the first in an occasional series with her on the topic of leadership.

When asked what makes a good leader, Zaida Fazlic doesn’t hesitate to point out some clear fundamentals.

“Who you are as a leader is who you are as a person. That’s one of the key things.”

Leadership is not simply management. That, she says, is just maintenance. “Leadership is about having a vision of the future and articulating it in a certain way to get people to buy into it.”

Good leaders have to be change agents, visionaries. But it hardly stops there. “You have to have the competencies.” That means building on one’s passion and vision to set goals, communicate those goals effectively, and identify the strengths within your team to know whom to rely upon to execute those goals.

Fazlic says the nature of leadership has changed over the past decades. Where once it was mainly tactical and managed through delegation and performance measurement, these days it’s much more holistic. “It is a great responsibility and a privilege because of the trajectory you take people on. Just think about it: how it can affect their career and their personal life is based on the decisions you make and the future that you lead them into.”

Good leaders build positive work environments that energize the team. They know how to bring out the best in their people by providing them with coaching, training, and support to do their jobs well. Good leadership is about character, integrity, and trustworthiness.

“Developing all these critical leadership and interpersonal skills does translate into better performance for the team and the company,” she adds, “because leaders are ultimately the ones responsible for building effective and productive teams that support each other and help each other get the work done in a sustainable way.”