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  • Writer's pictureBe Interactive

A Journey of Connection and Growth with Michael Luongo, CEO of Be Interactive Australia

We are delighted to feature Michael Luongo, CEO of Be Interactive Australia, today in the Leadership Gazette.

Michael reflects on his journey from envisioning a career in the restaurant industry to embracing the challenges and triumphs of leadership in the business world. His story is one of perseverance, mentorship, and a commitment to putting his team first.

Please tell us a little about your backstory?I initially didn't envision a lifelong career in sales. For me, it served as a stepping stone, a platform to glean essential skills that I could later apply to my dream of owning a restaurant. However, within my initial six months, I began to witness numerous colleagues moving into leadership and management positions. This ignited a spark within me, prompting a belief that with the same degree of diligence and dedication, I, too, could emulate their successes.

Amidst the challenges of COVID lockdowns, I faced a pivotal crossroads: an opportunity to relocate to New York City for a role in a global expansion, or the opportunity to remain rooted in Sydney, assuming full responsibility for steering the business forward. It was during this time that the support and guidance of my mentors proved to be an invaluable asset. Their patience, encouragement, and willingness to provide a gentle nudge whenever necessary have played a pivotal role in shaping me into the leader I am today. Thus, my journey toward assuming a leadership role has been marked by a blend of personal discipline, relentless effort, and the indispensable support of my mentors.

What does Be Interactive do?Working in the direct sales industry, our approach has always emphasised genuine connections. In today's increasingly virtual world, we actively pursue face-to-face connections to foster meaningful relationships.Previously, I believed leadership meant dictating the actions of others. Now, I understand it's about inspiring teamwork and being hands-on. True leadership means standing alongside your team, leading by example, and being willing to get your hands dirty. Respect is earned by doing what you ask of others.

As a leader, I prioritise the team's needs and never assign tasks I wouldn't do myself. By relating to their challenges, I can offer genuine support, drawing from my own experiences to guide them effectively.

What are the most important values to you and the business that you lead?I prioritise fostering genuine connections and building trust with my colleagues. It's crucial that they feel confident I have their best interests at heart and will support them through any challenges. By investing time in cultivating these relationships, we go beyond surface interactions, allowing for deeper understanding and collaboration. This approach builds a foundation of trust, making it easier for others to be receptive to feedback and advice. Ultimately, people value care over expertise, and I strive to demonstrate my commitment to their well-being by understanding their backgrounds and aspirations.

What is the best piece of leadership advice you have received and why?You can't expect others to do things you are not doing yourself. If I want to see changes in the people I work with, I first need to look at what changes I need to make for myself. It is easier to fix and change myself than to expect others to adapt to me. My job as a leader is to relate to the people I work with, not have them change who they are to suit me.

Can you tell us about a time when you have made the wrong decision?Narrowing it down to a single misstep is difficult. I strongly believe that one of the most effective ways to learn is through experience. I've found that I often learn more from my mistakes than from my successes. Failure prompts a deeper level of reflection and forces me to analyse situations to avoid repeating the same errors.

However, when I first assumed the responsibility of running the office, I made the mistake of thinking I had all the answers and didn't need to listen to the advice of those who had faced similar obstacles. Instead, I tried to handle everything on my own, overlooking the valuable support network available to guide me through the challenges I faced.

How do you get others to accept your ideas?It's crucial to garner genuine buy-in for ideas. Merely instructing someone on what to do can breed resentment for being excluded from the decision-making process. Conversely, collaborating on solutions allows everyone to contribute to the planning and development, making it their own idea and plan as much as mine. It's essential to entrust people with responsibility and give them room to make mistakes, providing the same learning opportunities that benefited me personally.

What is your next move?Throughout the past year, our primary focus has been on the training and development of our emerging leaders. As a result of these efforts, we are poised to experience significant growth. Our approach involves providing individuals with opportunities to assume responsibility when they are ready, while also offering support when needed.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, we plan to expand our operations into Melbourne. This expansion will afford one of our team members in Sydney the opportunity to lead their own campaign and team. Setting the stage for continued growth opportunities between both Sydney and Melbourne.

Connect with Michael and his team via the website and social media channels below:


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