Exclusive: HRM talks to Tangerine’s CEO

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HRM: CEOs and other C-suite executives can often intimidate front-line employees – is this something business leaders should be looking to change? If so, why – and how – should they go about it?

PA: Absolutely. Everything that matters in a business is related to the management of its people. So why is it, that the more senior we grow in our careers, we move further away from what happens on the front lines? For years, CEOs have been isolated in steel-and-glass towers, behind giant wooden desks and thick opaque doors. The fact is that CEOs, leaders and the rest of the people in an organization are the same. The challenge today is proving that humanity exists at the top, that you are accessible, that you listen, and that you want to hear from them directly. There can’t be enough clarity or repetition around this message. Not when we’ve been trained for years to believe otherwise.

HRM:  How would you define your leadership style?

PA: Open and accessible, both with our employees and clients. I do not have an office. I sit at an open desk with people and departments all around me. No walls, doors or barriers. Anyone can drop by and chat. I connect directly with clients on my personal Twitter account, Tangerine’s Facebook page, via direct email and on the phones at times. It gives me great joy as CEO to be able to fix an issue a client is experiencing with us.

HRM: What’s the best advice you could offer other aspiring leaders?

PA: To remember that there is a better way to do business, one that puts humanity at the forefront of success, both for employees and clients. And that if you give your employees autonomy and the room to breathe, that they’ll do better for you, the business and ultimately your clients. Being good to your own people is good business.
Peter Aceto will be hosting a keynote presentation at the upcoming HR Leaders Summit – the unorthodox CEO will share his “people-first” leadership strategies that have helped secure Tangerine a spot as one of Canada’s most popular banks and most popular workplaces.

To find out more about the HR Leaders Summit, or to register for the event, click here.
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