Interview: Eóin MacManus, Three Ireland

24 Feb 2020 | 10.55 am

Interview: Eóin MacManus, Three Ireland

"Acknowledge that failing is part of the process"

24 Feb 2020 | 10.55 am

Eóin MacManus (pictured) of Three Ireland tells Conor Morris about his approach to building trust with colleagues and becoming a more effective leader

Eóin MacManus, Chief Business Officer at Three Ireland, has overall responsibility for all markets within B2B and the various teams and functions that this incorporates. He started his career with Dell and worked with Eircom before moving to Three in 2009.

What was your first job?

My first job was during the summer holidays while I was in secondary school distributing leaflets into people’s homes. I hired my friends to do it with me, but once they realised how much I was making off them they downed tools!

My first ‘adult’ role was selling advertising space over the phone in London on a commission only basis. A very tough way to learn resilience and how to sell but the experience was priceless.

What business achievement are you most proud of?

When Three acquired O2 I was thrust into a situation where I had to build credibility with an organisation 10 times the size of the one that I had ran in the ‘old’ Three. I decided early on to be as honest and true to myself as I could be. Over five years on and I am still here, plus we are more successful as a company than we have ever been, so it worked out okay.

How would your work colleagues describe your leadership style?

I would say I am honest, personable, approachable and empowering, with solid communication skills (I did ask a few people!). I handle stress quite well so, I would say that I am calm under pressure. However, I can be quite direct when it is required.

I have learnt that the more I show the real ‘me’ with all my vulnerabilities and baggage, the more I build trust and am therefore more effective as a leader.

How do you motivate yourself and your team?

I do this in a few ways. Firstly, by teaching that we are always responsible for our actions and knowing that we always choose how we respond to what happens. The second is by extolling the advantage of trying to get out of one’s comfort zone on a regular basis, because this is how real learning and development happens.

The third is to acknowledge that failing is part of the process and not to be too concerned with mistakes but to ensure that you learn from them. Finally, fear has no place in our lives at all — ever.

What are the traits common to top performing sales people?

For me it boils down to emotional intelligence and assertiveness. Everything else can be learnt (product knowledge, planning etc.) but if you have ambitions to be a top salesperson then you need these.

Emotional intelligence enables you to have empathy but it will also provide you with the skills of listening and timing (when to ask a pertinent or closing question). Assertiveness is also critical, as this give you the confidence to ask for the order, and delve deeper into an issue when required. Having one without the other doesn’t work.

Who would you like on your management team for a day?

I can’t think of a specific person but I would like someone with the drive and out-of-box thinking of Steve Jobs, the values of Gandhi with the intelligence of Bill Gates.

What is the best leadership advice you have received?

Have a fear-based mindset and you will create more fear. Nothing positive came out of creating an environment based on fear.

As a senior business leader, why are you a member of The Executive Institute?

It is a great forum for networking as well as a means to understand the latest trends in business thinking

+ Conor Morris is Managing Director of The Executive Institute. See executiveinstitute.ie

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