Leadership Interview 2022: Shehzad Tabassum, CEO at NP

NP Group

What does a typical day look like for you as CEO at NP Group?
As CEO of NP Group, I have a lot of responsibilities outside of just people management. A typical day could be attending an induction, meeting a client, or catching up with colleagues to discuss strategy or internal projects. Being a leader in a business means that you are meeting people all the time so people skills and a general interest in people is a must.

I also attend internal meetings to support our business. I’ll regularly work with our people with internal priorities such as Diversity and Inclusion, social value, through to more commercial initiatives such as IT or client contracts.

Balance is always key. I will always ensure I have the time to be in touch with my direct reports and make sure that they have everything they need to feel supported and perform at their best. And I always make time for company social events too!

What are the key qualities that a good leader should have?
Over the many years of being a manager of people, there’s one key message that is important for any manager or leader to know – being a boss is about supporting and not dictating. You should be surrounded by extremely talented people who are experts in their field. As a leader, the key qualities you need are, empathy and active listening. I want to empower those around me to deliver and be the best versions of themselves, whilst also learning from them at the same time.

Supporting your people is everything. As a CEO, I must set a clear vision of where we want to be going as a business, get our people to buy into the vision and get them engaged and excited about it.  Our industry is constantly evolving and changing. One of my key roles is to support our people to adapt to the changing environment and embrace it.

The past 2 years or so have taken a toll on the mental wellbeing of some people. As a leader, do you feel that you have a responsibility to look after employees’ wellbeing and if so, what should bosses be doing to help support their employees with their mental wellbeing?
Absolutely. All leaders not only have a duty to ensure that their direct reports’ wellbeing is looked after, but as CEO, I am passionate about ensuring the business has all the resources available for our people to manage their own wellbeing too. We have a substantial wellbeing programme at NP Group, including our Employee Assistance Program and even smaller initiatives like providing a monthly massage for all employees.

For those looking to move into a managerial position or for those who have just started in one – what advice would you give to someone who doesn’t have much experience of leading people?
It comes back to listening, supporting, and not dictating. Be fair, establish a clear vision and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate. Bring people along with you, rather than ‘telling’ them what to do.

Most importantly, you need to be interested in people and want their success to go beyond your own. Seeing people thrive is one of the great privileges of being a manager. Have an active interest in your people and support them to be successful, buy into the bigger company goal and recognise the importance of your individual and teams’ part in achieving that. Communication, honesty, integrity, drive, resilience, and ambition are all key traits you should have and are those you should instil within your teams. 

Being a boss or manager can be stressful, but also very rewarding. What are the most rewarding aspects of being the CEO of NP Group and being the leader of those in the business?
The most rewarding thing about being CEO of NP Group is leading a business that supports people to achieve their potential every day. Being a business leader can be a lonely job sometimes but when you’ve got great people around you, all working together to drive business success, there’s no better feeling. 

It’s great to see people thrive and progress at NP Group, achieve things that they thought that they could never achieve, supporting business through change and after all of this, achieve amazing results. At the end of the day, we’re a sales business so our buzz is from our teamwork leading to us hitting, and often exceeding, our targets.

Being a leader at Group NP is a challenging job but it’s also a hugely rewarding. It’s my pleasure to be CEO of a rapidly growing recruitment business full of great people, fantastic training, and huge ambition for the future.

If you are passionate about people and would like to join our business, search our latest vacancies by clicking here.

Or click here to watch our latest video on ‘Life at NP Group’ where our colleagues share insight into their day-to-day roles and why we are a great place to work!