Leadership

Organisational Psychologist John Amaechi: Find your inner giant

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Alexander Court
Marketing Communications Lead, World Economic Forum
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  • Subscribe to Meet The Leader on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
  • Meet the Leader is a fortnightly podcast from the World Economic Forum that features the world’s top changemakers, showcasing the habits and traits effective leaders can’t work without.
  • British-American psychologist, consultant and former professional basketball player John Amaechi, OBE urges listeners to question leadership archetypes.

At 2.08m and 160kg, John Amaechi recognizes that he is - objectively - a giant. And those physical dimensions helped him chart his professional basketball career, scoring points for top NBA teams and helping England win a bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

But he also realizes that leadership - and the potential to be a giant - is not limited to any factor, be it size, race, gender or any other quality.

After his athletic career he took on a PhD in psychology and founded global psychological business consultancy APS Intelligence, which works with companies to improve leadership, communication skills and organisational diversity.

His work helps execs unlock the qualities they alone can bring to their teams, and how they can recognize other leaders at every level of their companies that are often overlooked. “Leadership is not a title or role,” Amaechi says. “It's a promise of a kind of experience. It says if I only have the power to influence these two people, I will wield that wisely and well.”

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Knowing yourself intimately is key to being an effective leader according to Amaechi. Many leaders are technically brilliant but struggle going beyond their sector, he told Meet The Leader. "Once you wander into questions about who they are, what they stand for, what are the qualities they have, what are the things that they respect and love, their knowledge disappears. Their insights are shallow.”

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In this episode of Meet The Leader, Amaechi shares why introspection is key to compelling leadership and how that introspection helps builds stronger, more resilient teams. He also discusses his latest leadership book, The Promises of Giants, and the everyday choices and commitments that can shape success.

Learn more about the habits Amaechi depends on, the books he recommends, and why it's important for leaders to think like scientists on this week's Meet the Leader podcast.

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