5 Elements of Effective Leadership Mindset at Award-Winning Workplace Vrio
23 June, 2021

With Vrio’s 10.5 million subscribers and more than 9,000 employees, Vrio seems to master the five key elements of what we are calling the “Leadership Mindset”.

These five elements have been crucial for Vrio throughout the Covid-19 crisis and continue to set an example for companies around the world.

1. Love of self-development

Leaders at Vrio are self-aware. They are truly motivated to become better versions of themselves. They actively look for authentic feedback in different forms:

  •   Trust Index™ employee survey results
  •   Feedback from coaches and mentors
  •   Listening to people in skip-level meetings
  •   Leadership calls
  •   Walking around the office every week
  •   Seeking to connect with people who think differently from them across the organization

These quotes from Vrio leaders prove that they are commited to developing their leadership skills and deepening their relationships with their people:

I won’t ever stop learning and growing. As leaders we have to get feedback from other sources. We have to help ourselves and model this so that people on the team pursue self-development.”

— Melissa Arnoldi, CEO, Vrio Corp. – AT&T Latin America

The greatest challenge as a leader is to influence people who think very differently from you. It is very easy when you feel a natural connection with people, but the real challenge of a leader is to find ways to break the ice and connect with people when running into obstacles. If the leader doesn’t seek to approach these people and find a way to connect with them, conflicts and disconnections will possibly start.”

— Mariano Montaldo, Country Managing Director, DIRECTV Chile

2. Focus on values, vision and purpose

Leaders at Vrio exemplify personal and company values by leading through purpose. They believe in transparently sharing detailed information about the company’s direction. This helps employees feel respected and gives them a clear view of where the company is going and how they fit into the company’s plans.

Focusing on purpose has been especially important as people adapt to a new structure and way of working.

Maria Casanovas, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at DIRECTV Latin America, says Vrio takes these conversations to the next level by turning purpose into business objectives:

 “We conduct weekly meetings to discuss our goals relative to our business direction. We discuss annual, monthly, and weekly objectives. All leaders participate in these meetings and are informed about the different scenarios if we reach our goals by a 100%, 90% or 50%. We discuss tactics and course correct our actions on time to achieve our goals, instead of waiting until the end of the month to see that we probably didn’t’ make it.”

3. Transparency and respect

Vrio leaders are deeply aware of how their actions set the tone of what’s culturally acceptable throughout the entire organization.

That’s why they lead with the truth.  They believe in sharing as much information as possible to demonstrate they are trustworthy leaders:

“Some people say that it’s better to hold information. I do not agree with that. I like to share a lot of information. You need to explain the “why.” When you do, people get a perspective that wasn’t available to them before.”

— Mariano Montaldo, Country Managing Director, DIRECTV Chile

“The worst thing you can do is to hide problems from the organization. It’s better to present them, explain them and find solutions with the people.”

— Diego Benavides, Country Managing Director, DIRECTV Peru

Most leaders mentioned that using a respectful tone is one of the keys to being transparent and trustworthy every day, especially when communicating difficult messages. Leading meant they had to deliver difficult messages more than once.

These leaders are deeply aware of the tone they use to interact with every person they do in the organization:

“I strongly believe in the importance of the tone we use. We could be communicating something truthful, but if it’s said with a negative tone, it won’t land well.”

— Mariano Díaz de Vivar, Country Managing Director, DIRECTV Colombia

4. “Reporting down”

Vrio leaders challenge traditional hierarchical power dynamics that prevent them from building authentic relationships across the organization. They believe that leaders should “report down” and let people know not only their decisions, but also the rationale behind them:

“We embrace a variety of different leadership styles, but we are clear on what elements are non-negotiable regardless of personal style: transparency, approachability, knowing people’s names, how long they have been with the company, their family and if there is any personal or family issue they may be going through.”

— Diego Benavides, Country Managing Director, DIRECTV Peru

Frontline employees appreciate this horizontal approach, according to their open-ended survey answers. When we asked about something unique their leaders do, one employee said, “Just having the ability to talk in the same conversation with our company President and with a person who cleans is very unique. It has given me a vision about how I want to be when I get to that role.”

Vrio even makes leadership effectiveness part of their performance evaluation system. For them, it’s not good enough to be great at doing the work — to be great at Vrio, you’ve got to be an exceptional leader, too.

5. Visible leadership

Frontline employees told us through the open-ended survey how much they appreciate the approachability of their top leaders. Since employees see leaders frequently, it feels natural to ask them questions when difficult news comes.

When social distance isn’t an issue Vrio leaders schedule weekly leadership activities in their calendars, such as:

  •   Walking around every floor in their buildings
  •   Visiting different locations
  •   Traveling across countries to listen to their people

“It is about hands-on leadership rather than leading from your desk.”

— Maximiliano Kassai, Chief Operations Officer, DIRECTV Latin America

Leaders proactively look for opportunities to connect with all organizational levels and listen to their experiences. Melissa Arnoldi, CEO at AT&T Latin America’s Vrio Corp., sets the tone by traveling to all regions as often as she can, now something she and the management teams accomplish virtually in the post-COVID landscape.

Regional and country leaders frequently show up at offices all over their regions and countries. For example, Maximiliano Kassai, Chief Operations Officer at DIRECTV Latin America, told us he takes employees with him to visit places where there is a market opportunity for them:

“How could I ask a Marketing Director or a Sales Director to go visit the market if I don’t do it? Our culture is hands-on. We go, visit and see how we are executing. If someone doesn’t want to do it, this culture isn’t for them.”

Has your company mastered the “Leadership Mindset”?

Leaders around the world agree that our survey is the best way to determine this. You’ll want direct access to your employees’ thoughts and feelings as it relates to the way you lead. Keep your finger on the pulse of your employee base and get Certified™ as a great place to work.

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