Petar T. Ivanov: True leader inspires, motivates, and is fair to their team

Petar Ivanov, Executive Director of AmCham Bulgaria talked about “The Future of Business and Leadership” at the 6th annual Leadership Academy. It was organized by The Sofia Security Forum, together with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on July 25-27, 2018 at the premises of the European Commission in Bulgaria. The young participants learnt about leadership, took part in role games, and met with proven leaders.


Leader’s Roots

“Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are leaders. It all starts from a very early age, even from the kindergarten when someone organizes other children to play a game,” said Petar Ivanov in his opening. “At least I was like that when I was organizing the local children to play football, and didn’t even realize that those skills of mine were actually leadership.”


The Inspirational Leader

It is a true fact: a leader needs to inspire. People will not follow any leader if they just give orders. A leader should lead with heart, he/she should listen to their team, because he/she is lost without it. A leader must motivate them and lead them by example.

There is always a moment in a someone’s life – usually not a good one – when a person is forced to step up and to become a leader. After that he/she chooses weather to use it for good or not. History has a lot of examples of good leaders using their skills for bad purposes.


Though Questions, Blitz Answers

During his participation, Petar T. Ivanov had to answer to many questions from the audience. The first one addressed how a failed leader can regain back the trust of his/hers team; and how can a team to communicate their problems to their manager?

By being fair! By treating everybody in the same way. Leaders can’t achieve anything without their team, and they shouldn’t forget that,” Mr. Ivanov answered. “Leaders want to be liked by their people, but sometimes they must make tough decisions, they must be in “command and control” mode. Indeed, often there are charismatic people who are not good leaders, because they are afraid of losing their people’s sympathy and support.”

Then came a question inspired by a real business case, probably. What the responsibility of a manager, who fails his company and a team of 900 people? Does he admit his failure as a leader, or does he blame it on his team?

“Often managers try to save their own skin, but it’s a matter of ethics of a person. If I was in a position like that, I would quit. And for those 900 people there is a saying “when you hear the words – you are fired – this is where the entrepreneurship is born,” answered Ivanov.

At this stage one of the toughest questions was asked: about the motivation and how Petar motivates his team?

I try to listen to my people, and I try to appreciate their opinion and ideas. Another strong tool for motivation is empowerment: they must know that their ideas are considered, even if they are not always the best ones. They must know that they mean something. It should not be about criticizing, but about achieving something together. And we should think about that as a nation too.”

At the end one of the participants wanted to hear Petar’s view on the difference between leadership in the private and in the public sector.

“Indeed, there is some difference. Our administration is a reflection of our society. There are two ways to change it. From the inside, which is almost impossible, and from the outside. We can change it as a society from the outside. If you fight for your rights you will succeed!”


About Sofia Security Forum

SSF is a non-governmental organisation with the main aim of eastablishing a platform for discussion of present-day problems of the national and international security. Its purpose is to involve representatives of the state and local administration, academic spheres, business and the non-governmental sector in the discussions. One of the main activities of the Forum is training of young leadesr.