We sat down with Matthew Fleet-Jones, Managing Director – Consultant Services EMEA, to discuss his approach to leadership and his 30 year tenure in recruitment.

Describe Your Leadership Philosophy

Be people-focused and be authentic. So be real, be true to yourself, put people first.

How Do You Apply That Philosophy to Your Leadership

Quite simply be a servant master. Find out what it is people are wanting to achieve and help them achieve it.

Did Leadership Come Naturally to You?

I’m a salesman that moved into management, which is a common path. And it’s not a natural adjustment for many people. So I think I started as a manager that pushed people for results, because that was what worked for me. And it might have got results, but it didn’t necessarily help people achieve what they wanted to achieve. So no, I don’t think it came naturally. Now, I would see myself as someone that creates platforms for people to be successful. Or, as Covey would put it: i’ve gone from an independent person to an interdependent person.

It’s taken me a while, but i’ve gotten there.

What’s the Biggest Change You’ve Seen to Recruitment Over Your 30 Year Tenure?

There are different generations who have different outlooks that have changed. In my early recruitment career, we were salesmen. So we were in a company car, going out to see customers, showing them what we did, and asking them to use our service. And it was very much based on the relationship we have with people.

And then for years and years, it was all about the product. And now it seems to move back to relationships. Now, that could be that I don’t think that’s necessarily an industry sector, but it’s what’s effective.

Could You Share Some of the Secrets to Your Success?

My normal answer is to remember that wheels are round, and they always have been, and they’re always going to be. There’s a lot of people reinventing that all the time to try and be at the core. So I’d say the most thing if you want to be successful, the top tip is to read Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and put it into action, you’ll be really successful. So that is my tip 99.9%, of personal development of success in business books, have his character ethics at their centre, the good ones do.

So I’d say there’s a couple of things I’ve picked up at the end of the book that I think I use a lot on what is common knowledge is not common practice. Most people know what it is they need to be doing, but they just don’t do it. And it manifests itself as ‘back to basics’ or all these different phrases. But it’s really all you get, you know what you need to be doing, give yourself the time to do it. And then that I said time, then the most requested training that people have always asked me is time management. And what I what you get from COVID is you can’t manage time, it’s really self-management. So Time management is really self-management as a top tip, once you get that, then life becomes much easier.

What’s the Biggest Challenge You’re Overcoming Right Now?

The biggest challenge when working within an organisation like this is helping people understand that in life, people don’t care what you know or what you can do until they know you care. So we’ve developed a purpose at Evolution. And that sums up what we believe is the best way to approach things, which is being committed to helping people and organisations realise their potential, it’s a super purpose. And that’s central to everything we do, but you have to mean it. So the biggest challenge is getting people to mean and show that they really do care and make that important to them. And then building relationships and building trust becomes a lot more valid because people know you care. So getting that into an organisation and then getting that through a business. That’s the biggest challenge.

My personal biggest challenge is listening. I’m a solution provider by nature. So I’m 100 miles an hour straight into solving a problem. Rather than asking more questions trying to get to the core of the situation. As humans, our fundamental need is to be heard. I need to be a better listener. I’ve been trying to be a better listener for most of my life and it’s still a work in progress.

What Makes Evolution Home For You?

The guys who own the business and the people that are influencing others within the business, really care. Evolution is home because it’s an opportunity to work with people that genuinely want to help individuals and organisations realise their potential. And they do care about what we do, who does it and how we do it and who we do it with. And after 31 years working in recruitment, that makes this place a very nice place to be.

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