Mark Durno grew up on a farm in Scotland, and that has taught him a few things – especially how the supply chain for food really works. Fast forward to today, Marc is now the managing partner AgriFood at Rockstart, where he is responsible for making sure that the right investments go to the right startups – to build on what we need for the future for food.
Mark recently sat down with Exponentially Me CEO, Ekåsteen de Waal to discuss his views and experiences on the topic of Leadership and Relationships.
No stranger to working in startup environments, Mark knows what is important and necessary to create a culture that springs up naturally. He uses personality profiling to figure out who are going to be the teams who will take the startup to the next level.
The first thing he says he looks at is the leadership role. Filling a leadership role is important for the success of the teams that they lead, but also the success of the startup. Leaders need to be sympathetic towards those in their team, and based on the placement of the leader, this should drive how personal their leadership style should be.
Trust: that is the one word that Mark uses to describe the role of the leader. When leadership fails, there is a breakdown in trust. There is a piece of vulnerability when a team is led by a leader, and a way to overcome this is through trust. When the trust is broken, chances are that the team might fail to achieve their goals.
At work, between leaders and employees, just like in any relationship there will be ups and downs, but it is important that trust be restored and built back up.
Openness is another important aspect in leadership, says Mark. This openness should be to receive criticism, or coaching, or views from other perspectives. He also says that openness can be inherent in some cases, and it forms part of the personality trait – environmental or experiential – of someone. Even if you’re not the most teachable character, according to Mark people are able to learn to be open, and they can learn to accept the criticism and point of views of others.
Mark speaks in depth on the dynamics of relationships and leadership, and emphasises that personality trait tests are important to ensure that a leader will fit in with a certain team. With these types of tests he says we can ensure that groups can find synergy to work well together.
Have a listen to the full podcast that Eksteen de Waal had with Mark Durno and find out more about the importance of openness and accepting criticism in leadership and how it can take a startup to the next level here.