We speak to Pablo Diaz Megias, Country Head for UBS Spain, about his own leadership journey and his experience of introducing the concepts of positive psychology, behavioural science and mindfulness in his organisation. He provides insights into what he has found rewarding and effective, and what has proved challenging. He is a strong advocate of the importance of creating a positive organisational culture to improve the wellbeing of your people and in turn improve their performance.
Interview by Declan Noone
Pablo, could you explain to us your own leadership journey so far?
When I finished university, I immediately started in the financial services sector. In truth, I never thought I would end up in management. My expectations were that I would end up as an expert managing a portfolio, but you know life can take you in different directions and will offer you alternative opportunities, so you have to be willing to take them. My opportunity in management arose while I was developing the business in Spain. There was a strategic decision by the group to have a real footprint here and as a result, we were growing the business quickly and recruiting people, so of course new challenges were arising on a daily basis. Fortunately, I and a number of my colleagues were offered the opportunity to attend a course at the University of Virginia by Carol and Jack Weber. This was my first contact with many of the new concepts that surround leadership, as well as positive psychology. It had such an impact on me that I made a conscious effort to keep myself informed through reading papers and books.
A pivotal point in my leadership journey was my decision to participate in the first intake of the IE Masters in Positive Leadership and Strategy. I had been searching for something to help me grow positively. I was at a point in my own professional journey where I was continuing to perform exceptionally well, but I was becoming consciously aware that perhaps my passion was waning, and if your passion wanes you start to not value things. It may lead to you taking everything for granted because everything is routine.