Interview with Jérôme Jean Hubert van Helden

Jérôme Jean Hubert van Helden

General Manager
Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam

What steps should a person take to prepare himself or herself to be a better leader?
In the hospitality industry a key quality of a leader is presentation, as appearance is very important in this industry. Furthermore a leader would need to show drive and a certain hunger to prove themself. Depending on the position of leadership I would look at specific qualities in that person, such as organisational skills and training capability. A leader also needs to be someone that knows he can handle the job. Even if the job is new to that person, the desire to succeed needs to be there; as well as the drive to continuously improve and to look for new challenges along the way.

Describe to us your leadership style. Why has it been effective?
I have a varied management or leadership style, where I look at the team members and assess how to lead them. Some would need more coaching and support than others as no person is the same. I believe it is important to have a good atmosphere and therefore I have a relaxed approach and give people the freedom to develop. However as I am a very direct and open leader everyone knows what is expected of them and it gives them a feeling of empowerment. As a leader, you can’t do everything by yourself, therefore it is important to involve others and build from there.

In your opinion, what differentiates a good leader from a great one?
I believe that a good leader is someone who you can depend on to get the job done just as you expect. A great leader would get the job done as well, but would achieve a better result than expected, by inspiring his or her associates and all other stakeholders. A great leader knows exactly how to motivate all of his associates to achieve the best possible result. In the hospitality industry, service is key and this makes all the difference. If everyone is motivated within the hotel, the guests feel it when entering the premises and will feel comfortable from the start. Great leaders understand anyone can make a mistake as no one is perfect, but you have to learn from your mistakes. Understanding weaknesses and making those your strengths makes great leaders, not just good ones.

This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2015 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!