The New Portrait Of Leadership: Moe Duke, Director of Logistics and Operations at the United Nations On Strategies to Shape Yourself Into A Modern Masterpiece

An Interview with Karen Mangia

Karen Mangia
Authority Magazine
9 min readMar 17, 2023

--

Vision: Effective leaders have a clear vision for the future and are able to communicate it to their team. They are able to inspire their team to work towards a common goal. For example, Steve Jobs had a clear vision for Apple and was able to inspire his team to create products that revolutionized the tech industry.

We are living in the Renaissance of Work. Just like great artists know that an empty canvas can become anything, great leaders know that an entire organization — and the people inside it — can become anything, too. Master Artists and Mastering the Art of Leadership draw from the same source: creation. In this series, we’ll meet masters who are creating the future of work and painting a portrait of lasting leadership. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Moe Duke.

Moe Duke is a highly accomplished logistics and operations director with over 8 years of experience in the United Nations. He has demonstrated strong leadership skills, work ethic, and integrity while leading productive teams and maximizing brand outreach. Moe is also a dynamic entrepreneur with a proven track record of success in networking and driving growth initiatives.

Thank you for joining us. Our readers would enjoy discovering something interesting about you. What are you in the middle of right now that you’re excited about personally or professionally?

Currently, I am in the midst of an exciting personal and professional endeavor: creating my own brand. As a lover of fashion, I am passionate about the creative process of bringing unique ideas to life and seeing them adorn someone. This venture represents an important next step in my personal growth as well as a logical progression in my professional career. I am currently focused on branding and naming, and I am eager to bring my vision to life.

We all get by with a little help from our friends. Who is the leader that has influenced you the most, and how?

I have to give credit to my brother — he’s been my biggest leadership influence. He’s truly remarkable in the way he handles failure — it never lets it get him down and he always manages to bounce back in no time. Currently, he’s leading one of the biggest projects he’s ever had with a few partners, and seeing his dedication and hard work firsthand has been a constant source of motivation for me. I aspire to be the kind of leader that he is — someone who never gives up and always perseveres in the face of challenges.

Sometimes our biggest mistakes lead to our biggest discoveries. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a leader, and what did you discover as a result?

I made a significant mistake by presenting myself as an unapproachable independent figure, believing that it would earn me respect from my team. Nothing bad, right? However, the way I tried to position myself did the opposite effect for me, and my team perceived me as distant. I was so focused on impressing my team with my independence that I unintentionally created a barrier between us, causing issues and negatively impacting our workflow. Unfortunately, due to my unapproachable demeanor, my team didn’t provide any feedback or voice their concerns. It was only after I took the initiative to observe and reflect on our team dynamics that I recognized the issue.

Realizing my mistake, I decided to let my guard down and connect with each member of my team on a personal level. Despite my initial fears of being perceived as weak, this approach proved highly effective, and it taught me that vulnerability and authenticity can be powerful tools in leadership. It was a hard-learned lesson, but it taught me the importance of being approachable, fostering open communication, and actively seeking feedback from my team to achieve our collective goals. Fun fact — after I’ve changed my approach, I became a stronger leader for my team.

How has your definition of leadership changed or evolved over time? What does it mean to be a leader now?

My definition of leadership has evolved to prioritize the growth and improvement of the people around me. I used to think that being a leader meant being the boss and calling the shots, but I’ve learned that it’s about empowering and learning from your team. Each person brings their own expertise and experience to the table, and it’s important to leverage that to create a collaborative and productive environment.

One issue I’ve encountered in the past is leaders who are too focused on their own success to share their knowledge with others. I make it a point to share everything I know with my team, as their growth and success is just as important to me as my own. By doing so, I believe that I’m not only helping to improve my team and company, but also making a positive impact on the world.

Success is as often as much about what we stop as what we start. What is one legacy leadership behavior you stopped because you discovered it was no longer valuable or relevant?

I believe it’s important to continuously re-evaluate our leadership behaviors and adapt to the changing times. One behavior that I stopped was the notion of always telling people that they can do better. While this may have been a popular idea in the past, I found that it wasn’t always effective in motivating my team. Instead, I focus on recognizing their accomplishments, even tiny ones and providing constructive feedback to help them grow. It’s important to create a positive and supportive environment where people feel valued and encouraged to do their best.

What is one lasting leadership behavior you started or are cultivating because you believe it is valuable or relevant?

The importance of engaging with people. It’s not just about completing tasks and getting work done, but rather, it’s about teaching them, showing gratitude for their hard work, and building strong relationships with them. I believe that when you engage with your team and show that you are approachable and willing to learn from them, you create a positive and productive work environment. As a result, team members feel valued and motivated, which in turn leads to better results and success for the entire organization.

What advice would you offer to other leaders who are stuck in past playbooks and patterns and may be having a hard time letting go of what made them successful in the past?

It’s important to stay up-to-date with industry trends and be willing to pivot and adapt when necessary — it’s our responsibility as leaders to do that. Additionally, don’t be afraid to learn from your team and those around you. They bring valuable perspectives and expertise to the table that can help drive success. As a leader, it’s crucial to create a culture of collaboration and continuous learning.

Many of our readers can relate to the challenge of leading people for the first time. What advice would you offer to new and emerging leaders?

First things first, it’s important to make a positive impression. Dressing well and looking good not only shows respect for yourself but also for your team and the organization. Additionally, creating a bond with your team and setting an example are crucial for building trust and respect. Remember, as a leader, you are a mirror for your team, so whatever behavior and standards you set for yourself, your team is likely to follow.

I would also advise to focus on building relationships with team members. Building trust and rapport with your team is essential to creating a positive and productive work environment. Be a good listener, ask for feedback, and make sure your team feels heard and valued. Also, remember to lead by example and be open to learning and growing yourself. Being a good leader is a continuous journey of self-improvement and growth. Finally, be patient with yourself and your team — leadership is not an easy task, but with time and practice, you will become a great leader.

Based on your experience or research, what are the top five traits effective leaders exemplify now?

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Effective leaders are able to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as those of their team members. They are able to empathize with others and create a positive work environment. For example, I worked with a CEO who took the time to listen to his employees’ concerns and addressed them with empathy and understanding. This helped to create a more positive and productive workplace.
  2. Adaptability: Effective leaders are able to adapt to changing circumstances and make decisions quickly. They are able to pivot their strategies and plans as needed. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many leaders had to quickly adapt to remote work and changing business conditions. The most effective leaders were able to adapt quickly and keep their teams on track.
  3. Vision: Effective leaders have a clear vision for the future and are able to communicate it to their team. They are able to inspire their team to work towards a common goal. For example, Steve Jobs had a clear vision for Apple and was able to inspire his team to create products that revolutionized the tech industry.
  4. Transparency: Effective leaders are transparent with their team members and stakeholders. They communicate openly and honestly, even when the news is not good. For example, the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, was transparent with his employees and customers during the company’s restructuring in 2008. This helped to build trust with employees and customers.
  5. Decisiveness: Effective leaders are decisive and able to make tough decisions when needed. They are able to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision quickly. For example, during the financial crisis of 2008, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, made the tough decision to acquire Bear Stearns. This move helped to stabilize the financial markets and positioned JPMorgan Chase for growth.

The traits of emotional intelligence, adaptability, vision, transparency, and decisiveness are key for effective leadership in today’s world. These traits are exemplified by successful leaders who are able to inspire and lead their teams to success.

American Basketball Coach John Wooden said, “Make each day your masterpiece.” How do you embody that quote? We welcome a story or example.

Back home we have an Arabic saying that translates close to “Never Put off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today.” It aligns with Coach Wooden’s quote about making each day a masterpiece. For me, this means tackling each task with urgency and giving it my all. I believe that if you put in the effort today, you will reap the rewards tomorrow. Whether it’s a work project or a personal goal, I approach each day with the mindset that it’s an opportunity to create something great.

What is the legacy you aspire to leave as a leader?

My legacy is to leave a positive impact on those I work with and the world around me. I believe that investing in people and helping them become the best version of themselves is the most meaningful thing I can do. By doing so, I hope to leave a lasting impression on those I work with, and inspire them to continue the cycle of growth and development. Ultimately, my goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it, one good deed at a time.

How can our readers connect with you to continue the conversation?

I’m open to communicating through my LinkedIn and Instagram profiles.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience a leadership master at work. We wish you continued success and good health!

About The Interviewer: Karen Mangia is one of the most sought-after keynote speakers in the world, sharing her thought leadership with over 10,000 organizations during the course of her career. As Vice President of Customer and Market Insights at Salesforce, she helps individuals and organizations define, design and deliver the future. Discover her proven strategies to access your own success in her fourth book Success from Anywhere and by connecting with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

--

--