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Updated 28 Sep 2020

Amy Kleinhans-Curd on facing challenges head-on

Amy Kleinhans-Curd knows that to grow your business and yourself, you need to keep pushing your limits, embrace challenges, and give your employees the responsibility they need to thrive. 

Nadine Todd, 19 August 2015  Share  0 comments  Print

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“I’ve found that being a leader isn’t just about my own development, or understanding myself and my limits and strengths. It’s about how much responsibility I give my employees as well,” says Amy Kleinhans-Curd co-founder of PLP Group and founder of Dial a Teacher, and a former Miss South Africa winner.

Related: Following a dream

“To be truly productive as a business owner, you need to know when to let things go,” she continues.

“I’ll gladly let someone else run with an idea and make a success of it. It’s my job to come up with those ideas and conceptualise where we are, where we should be, and how we’re going to get there, but I have a great team who then takes care of the operational side of actually making things happen.”

Knowing when to delegate

“If it’s something I love and I’m good at, I’ll run with it, but first, I take a step back and critically evaluate if I’m the best person for that particular project. If the answer is no, I hand it over. It’s as simple as that. We’ve built an incredible team over the years, and everyone has their own passions and strengths. It’s important to play to those strengths; pick the best person for each job, and remember that just because it’s your company doesn’t mean that person is always you.

“It then becomes my role to delegate, and then stay in touch through regular updates. I’m not saying hand something over and walk away – that’s also counter-productive. But you don’t need ownership of everything. Great employees take responsibility and build themselves and the business with it. It’s your job as leader to hand that responsibility over. Concentrate on building employees, not micro-managing them.”

Kleinhans-Curd has found that effective delegation is all about striking a balance. “I like feedback; I keep tabs on what’s going on. It’s hard to give things away, but I’ve learnt that I’m more effective when I stick to the hub of where I should be, let me team run with projects, and then check in with them periodically.”

Embracing a growth mentality

The second part of being a leader is more focused on the business’s overall growth. “This is all about striking a balance between patience and speed,” she says.

“On the one hand, in modern life, we’re all too focused on instant gratification. Having patience, stamina and ‘stickability’ will only lead to success. Oak trees don’t grow over night. They take time and patience.

“On the other hand, I’m a big believer that if you’re standing still with no problems, you’re going backwards. This isn’t the opposite of patience and the points I’ve already mentioned, but it is about paying attention to the market.

“I get worried when there are no challenges that we’re currently facing. Challenges are what drive you forward. When things are too easy, you become complacent, but you also aren’t paying enough attention to your market and competitors. Business is always changing. Are you changing with it?

Related: Why Africa needs more women entrepreneurs

“Hand in hand with this is the fact that as an entrepreneur, I love being on the edge of growth. I actually miss our start-up days, when everything was tough, and we were barely making ends meet. Today, we find those challenges in growth, and without that excitement, I’d die of boredom. I need to keep challenging myself, pushing my limits, and those of the business towards further growth and new challenges.”

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Nadine Todd

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