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‘Be honest when you don’t have all the answers’

Tue 27 July 2010

, Leap, LEAP


We’re continuing the World Café debate at the LEAP Energy event online, and ask: how far are you in self-leadership and in your leadership journey? Ineke Bussemaker, senior manager with Rabobank: “You need a sounding board.”


Ineke Bussemaker has worked in management for more than 20 years and is currently head of Payment Services and Savings at Rabobank. Before that she worked for Citigroup. She found the Energy event inspiring and Koen Gonnissen's presentation both intriguing and revealing. "There was a lot in Koen's talk that I could recognise. He was able to show how to put theory into practice."

Ask for input
The World Café discussions, Ineke says, helped to confirm her belief that a leader needs to be honest when she doesn't have all the answers. She says that it is by asking for input from your team and thinking along with others that you will often find the solution to a problem.

‘Common view’
"I always start by trying to find common ground and a common view. I am sensitive to the fact that small differences can become much bigger if you are not aware of those. But if, after hearing everything, there is no consensus then it is down to me as leader to make a decision."

‘Executive coaching’
Ineke enjoys mentoring and using her experience to offer honest advice to her team. But she is also open to being mentored herself. "You need a sounding board – either in the form of executive coaching or a very good boss to give you advice. But sometimes a peer group from outside the company or other professionals in the organisation, who are at the same level as you, can also be helpful. They often understand what you face and can be a valuable source to draw on."

Leadership journey
Ineke finds international challenges particularly enjoyable and has worked for four banks in four different countries. She is more than half way through her journey, she says. "Perhaps in the future I could see myself as the CEO of a mid-size company. But for now I am happy where I am. My work gives me energy. A quiet life is definitely not for me."



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Comments (1)


Erica Van Ooyen

Mon 02 Aug 2010 22:35:04

Hi Ineke, fully agree with your insight that have a sounding board is a great and very enriching idea! Are there any special criteria you use when it comes to finding a sounding board just right for you?



Best, Erica van Ooyen