What Stan the Man taught me about leadership

Stan Maria Stavros

Stan Longinidis is an eight-time kickboxing world champion and the first martial artist to be inducted in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. But it’s what Stan does outside the ring that OBrien director Stavros Ambatzidis is most in awe of.

Stan ‘The Man’ Longinidis is humble, genuine and driven – most of all, he knows what it takes to succeed. He’s also a real ‘people person’; a keen talker and an even better listener.

For about four years now, Stan and his business partner, Maria Petrou, have been mentors to me and my team at OBrien.

The impact they’ve had on my business cannot be underestimated.

Why? Because they’ve helped shape our culture.

And culture is more important to my business than strategy.

You can have the right strategy, but if you have the wrong culture – everyone pulling in different directions – you cannot succeed.

And that’s where Stan and Maria fit in. They’ve been a dynamic and even life-changing presence in the lives of me and my team.

They offer a listening ear, objective advice, perspective and coaching. They observe, they talk, they motivate.

My employees may not always open up to me, but they will to Stan and Maria. My team know they can talk to Stan and Maria about anything, from career development to work-life balance and dealing with life changes such as babies, marriage or family issues.

In turn, Stan and Maria guide me on how to deal with employees who may be going through difficult times at work or in their personal lives.

They’ve helped me better understand my people, which has made me a better leader and a better director.

At times they’ve helped me re-evaluate how I do things. It’s not always comfortable – as a leader, you’ve got to be able to accept criticisms and accept that you may not always be right.

You need to be open to changing your leadership style. You have to be willing to listen.

Having mentors helps my team members grow as people, as well as in their careers – and that improves my business.

For many leaders, KPIs, profits and strategy come before people.

But if you have the right people and the right culture, you can make the right strategy for your business – and that’s win-win for everyone.

We asked Stan and Maria from Stan the Man Group what it’s been like to work with our team at OBrien Real Estate, and here’s what they said: 

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