Kornelia Zegiel: The Key Success in Relationships is Building Trust and Credibility
Kornelia is the new Global Woman Club Frankfurt Regional Director and she describes it as seeing more opportunities than challenges. Her mission is to use her international experience to support and empower women locally to achieve their goals and help them to be recognised globally. According to her, trust is very important in business relations. From working with different cultures, she shares some little secrets of how she managed to gain their trust, even when she needed to use direct versus indirect communication. Kornelia knows the feeling of young entrepreneurs, and she tries to help by coaching to grow a business professionally and financially.
As Kornelia says: “Trust is the fundamental factor to run a successful team or project. I have learned that to build trust, you need to be true to your word and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Honour your commitments and be clear about them”.
After so many years in business, can you say that it is now a passion more than a profession?
In my case, everything starts with a passion. I have always been passionate about business and people. After graduating with a master’s degree in economy and finance, I was interested to understand what makes big companies successful and why some teams achieve success quicker than others and how they can sustain that success over the long term. That’s why I decided to join the corporate world to learn from market leaders such as HP, Abbott, and ERT. My profession in finance helped me to reach another level. Right now, as founder of Master4Business, I support people to grow and achieve more, professionally and financially. I’m helping them to become more productive, more effective, and communicate at the master level. Yes, right now I can say Master4Business is my passion more than a profession
How do you see your business today, not as a founder, but as a woman in business?
For me, being a woman is an opportunity, especially in business, because we can succeed as a man and lead as a woman. I’m not afraid to use my intuition and my good instinct to lead. Society teaches us male leadership, but these days a woman can succeed and thrive in this world leading with the heart, not with the head only. I have built my profession in finance. We know that finance and business are dominated by men, but I give myself permission to lead as a woman. I genuinely care about people. I’m sensitive, a good listener, decisive, a multitasker and I’m putting others first and adding into it business acumen. I’m practising a new way of leadership. Master4Business is representing new leadership,and most importantly, this new style is working and it’s successful.
Have you worked in different cultures for many years? What were the challenges, and the pleasures?
Working in different cultures might be enjoyable and stressful at the same time. We know that every culture is different, and each of us is having different personalities regardless of nationality. What I have realized from working in an international environment, is speaking the same language is not a formula for success. The most difficult for me was to gain the trust of others. Trust is the fundamental factor to run a successful team or project. I have learned that to build trust, you need to be true to your word and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Honor your commitments and be clear about them. Another difficulty for me was to understand the communication style.
Different people from different cultures use different communication styles. You may be the type of person who gets right to the point. However, a colleague may take a more circular approach and take longer to say what needs to be said. Understanding the different communication styles and how culture influences them will help to ease frustration and promote understanding, not just for you, but for your colleagues, as well.
I have to learn when and how I can use direct versus indirect communication. I remember when I have used the same direct style, I was using to my German colleagues in discussion with a person from Asia. I can tell you the effect was the opposite to what I expected it to be. When I gain the trust of people and know which style of communication I should use with them, I reach the level of joy.
Solutions that we, as the international team was offering, were more creative and more innovative. Every culture is having a different sense of humor. If your team can trust you and you can trust them and be respectful, they start to be more vulnerable and be open and on other days you realized that you became friends.
How important is it for you to support the entrepreneurs and what is the key to success in the relationships you build with them?
I know that feeling, if someone is aspiring to create their own company, and don’t know where to start. Once you create a business, and being a business owner can feel lonely, lets face it, often you are alone making key decisions. Master4business is offering executive coaching to grow a business professionally and financially, in a smart and more effective way. For me, the key success in any relationship, especially in business, is building trust and credibility, then educating and helping them to solve the problems.
You have already started a new journey, a course and a book for sustainable effective communication in international business and leadership. Do you think experience is the best guide in your new journey?
Absolutely, during my ten years experience of leading a virtual team, I have learned that to be effective you need to have an efficient system, great tools, and well-established processes. It is impossible not to communicate and run the business. With good communication, everyone can move confidently and efficiently to achieve all the objectives in record time. Right now, the coronavirus outbreak pushed our local teams to operate virtually. A global pandemic is leading to a new way of working. When we are working with our team remotely, it’s required to be even more effective at communication than in onsite collaboration. In my book, I will present a formula to run effective communication, especially for a virtual team. I will focus on the women leadership style and how to use it to run a successful business.
As a global speaker, how challenging has it been to communicate verbally all the learning experiences you have gained throughout your career?
The main challenge for me was competence. I had confidence in me that I can do it. However, my lack of experience in global speaking was stressful for me, especially at the beginning. I realized that telling the story which resonates with my audience, will help me connect me with them, and my message will be understood and received. I want to be received.
Kornelia, as the new Global Woman Club Frankfurt Director, how is this challenge for you? And what do you expect from this role?
In this role, I see more opportunities than challenges. I would rather view it as a new reality than a challenge. Such reality, which is dictated by coronavirus, is giving me and any other leader who is stepping into a new leadership role, limited chances for face to face meetings with the community. However, I believe that my experience of working with a virtual team will help me overcome such a challenge.
In this role, I’m is going to use my international experience to support and empower women locally to achieve their goals and help them to be recognized globally. At the same time, I’m going to encourage women not to be afraid to lead a woman, because as I have mentioned before, being a woman is an opportunity. We can succeed the same as a man,while leading with heart, elegance, and confidence at the same time. My strongest skill is being intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. Adding that to my strong communication skills and financial background, it is positioning me to be a good business advisor for my Frankfurt community.
Finally, do you have any advice for women who are in their first steps in business?
I would say, let your faith be bigger than your fear. Be around people who are better than you at the beginning, you might feel uncomfortable, but with time they make you grow. Be in an environment where you can serve and solve others problems. The last advice strategy is key, but only taking actions will bring you results, so be the action person.