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Former SKS365 CEO Alexander Martin said listening is the most crucial day-to-day leadership skill.

The executive said listening and reaching out to your staff are the most important traits of a leader in industry today.

Martin made the comments on the NEXT Summit Valletta Leadership Stage during a panel titled “Stories of Leadership, Innovation, and Start-up Success”.

In the session, gaming leaders gave their views on what industry leadership looks like today both personally and professionally.

The ex-SKS365 head argued that the main way leaders are remembered is through their direct interactions.

He said: “Nobody thinks in terms of – ok, we did this great product, we did that great innovation. It’s more about when somebody within the organisation has a direct interaction, and you as a leader remember their personal stories, you’re picking up on those stories in the next meeting.

“So, you’re really building a lot of empathy, you’re listening in – beside the activities and tasks in the job environment – that’s what they’re remembering quite closely.”  

Yolo Platform CEO Jose Micallef agreed that listening was key for industry leaders.

He highlighted the importance of having the right team in place to deliver a strategy, especially for issues around risk.

Micallef added it is important to have the flexibility to review and align your strategy as you go on.

How should a leader navigate times of transition?

The panel was also asked how to navigate big changes to a business such as periods of M&A, restructuring and redundancies.

Former Pinnacle CEO Paris Smith argued that communication and honesty with employees during times of transition is vital.

She said: “I think if you’re honest with people, and they’re part of the process, part of the journey, whatever it is – good, bad or different – they’re more accepting of it.”

Moderator Rani Wynn, general counsel LiveScore Group, also quizzed Casumo CEO Francesco Postiglione on the biggest risks a leader can take.

Casumo CEO Francesco Postiglione said the biggest risks a leader can take are those related to making mistakes, something he argued was implicit in the role.

“So, you need to live with it – I believe – and you need to learn the reasons behind the mistake for your people, because you have the ultimate responsibility.”

“But if you manage it properly and you learn from your mistakes, and you are honest with people – it’s going to be fine.”

All sessions from the Leadership Stage of the NEXT Summit Valletta can be found on the NEXT.io YouTube channel.

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