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Coach Wearing a Tie

Frank Pucelik is a world-known professional trainer and consultant. His niche is psycho-technologies. He creates trainings on organizational behavior, development of leadership skills and conflict management. He provides service to all kinds of commercial and state companies. The reporter of “GOROD” met Frank in Samara during four-days training organized in cooperation with company “Sovremennye Bisnes Tekhnologii”.

- Today Russia is in transition period and Russian leaders have to be constantly developing, learning business practice from other countries, discovering the ways to make business more efficient. I was lucky to work with many successful companies. Now I help Russian, Ukrainian, Latvian, Kazakh and many other companies become more effective.

- How and when did you begin to conduct such trainings?

- I grew up near stage – my mother was a singer and I started to appear on stage at the age of 12 with her. I do not sing that well any more (smiling). My basic education was psychology, which I was not very fond of at that time. It is pretty common in the US – people start their career as psychologists and then change to business consulting. This is exactly what I did and now I do not simply help people solve their psychological problems but help companies be more successful. I have been doing it in Russia for 20 years and for nearly 45 years overall.

For about five years I have been a “player” of the American army. “Uncle Sam” has left me no choice so I had to bear arms and only after that I started following up my career. Many years have passed. I know I do not look that old (laughing).

- What is real leader like? (if you can describe in few words).

- This may sound too simple but I shall try… He must trust in people, be reasonably flexible, disciplined and organized. If one person possesses all these qualities, this person has good chances of becoming a leader.

- Can anyone be taught how to be a leader or is this a natural talent?

- I think most people – about 90% - can develop this skill. However, there are people who will never cope with it. Some people simply do not like authority and responsibility.

- Should a leader be a leader regardless of time and place?

- It depends on the individual. In Russia, people treat this position much more serious than in the West. Leaders here want to dominate in all situations because they have only started to play these games recently. In Western countries, person dominating at work prefers not being dominant in everyday life. For example, in a gym such person is just a usual guy. Visiting orphanage with charitable mission he does not want to be a leader – he is here to communicate with children. Outside the office, it is much more pleasant for him to be an ordinary man.

- How would you define the main difference between Russian and foreign leaders?

- Good and bad leaders exist everywhere. Good leaders are the same in different countries but there are more of them in the US. The reason is that competition has developed there much earlier – America has 60-years advantage. Those who were not capable of effective leadership have disappeared long ago. In Russia leaders are often very demanding, authoritarian, aggressive and pushy due to previously recognized style: “Do what I have told you because I am the boss. Do what I said otherwise you will be in trouble. Do this or I shall fire you.” This style had been acknowledged unacceptable in the West 40 years ago; while here it is still practiced. Yet this does not mean that there are no good leaders in Russia - it is about proportion.

- You also work with conflict management.

- Yes. I help people solve personal and professional conflicts.

- Is it possible to avoid conflicts?

- All people strive to this. 98% of conflicts are expendable. There are skills, which help people stay out of trouble, though sometimes troubles can appear any way. There are situations when you cannot escape troubles and you have to be able to cope with it.

- How did you like Samara?

- I did not have time to look around the city yet. Partially due to weather, partially because of being very busy. But 12-13 years ago I have been to Samara often. Approximately once a month for several years. I used to have many friends here and I intend to find some of them. As to my first impressions this time – I did not recognize the airport, it has completely been renovated. Secondly, when we entered the CITY (in whisper)…I did not recognize anything at all. You have developed your city greatly during last 10-15 years. Buildings, streets – everything is different. I want to take a walk along Volga, even though now it is covered with ice. Anyway, I remember it s very beautiful and I’m looking forward to arriving here in summer. But I shall definitely arrive in spring. We repeat “Leadership” seminar on the 23-24 of April and in May we shall conduct “Professional business-procedures”. So I shall have a chance to see Samara in blossom.

Yulia Yatsenko

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