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Five tips for successfully managing people

As told to Andy McLean MIML

In a leadership career spanning five decades, Chris Golis FIML has learned a thing or few about managing people. In this article, he shares five tips for a successful life and career.


In 1973 I was flown twice to New York by McKinsey & Company and offered a job – but I must be one of only a few people to ever turn them down. My MBA tutor was Charles Handy [who later became a world-famous management guru] and he said to me, “Chris, I’m not sure I’d take that if I were you. I’ve been thinking about what makes business success and have come to the conclusion that it’s being able to handle yourself in a one-on-one meeting. That’s when you get the job, hire someone, get fired, secure the funding, come up with a business plan, and so on.” I took his advice and instead pursued a sales career. I arrived in Sydney the same week that the Sydney Opera House opened.


In sales I learned that we sell to people’s heart, not to people’s head. Understanding someone’s temperament is absolutely vital if you want to get the best out of them. The problem is most managers do not have a scientifically valid model of temperament to help them determine their own and other people’s core emotions. I practise and teach the most practical temperament tool available, the 7MTF which can dramatically lift your emotional intelligence. In the same way the Humm-Wadsworth temperament model is built on the earlier work of Rosanoff, the 7MTF builds on the work done by Humm and Wadsworth. All three models conceive our temperament traits as based on one’s position on the various spectra of mental illnesses.


In 2005, my elder daughter Louisa was asked to run a team of 30 people at Perpetual before she was 30. She asked me a good question: “Dad, you have read all the business books, what do you recommend I read?” I began by referring her to research among Australian managers that showed ‘people skills’ ranked as far and away the most important leadership capability. So I said to Louisa she should read a book that would improve her people skills. After some thought, I realised that there was no practical handbook written to help new managers develop their people skills so I decided that I had to write one myself. Thus The Humm Handbook: Lifting Your Level of Emotional Intelligence was born and published in 2007. (Read details of the book at


At the end of my book, I analysed five classic plays as business case studies. Why? Because theatre gives us a picture of what we are and what we want to be. It helps us to find out about ourselves and others. So I analysed three Shakespeare plays, as well as Death of a Salesman and Antigone, through the prism of emotional intelligence. In each play, the hero suffers a terrible reversal of fortune and loses everything they hold most dear. We can see how their personality traits inform the decisions they make, and can draw business lessons from these to enhance our own emotional intelligence. (For more, read this article listing five leadership lessons from Shakespeare)


I survived cancer in 2000, 2014 and 2019 (my daughters say I’m now a cat with six lives!). Facing your own mortality changes your outlook on life. When I realised there was a chance I was going to die, I decided to empower the people around me to let them make decisions. I loved my work in venture capitalism but also knew business life would one day have to continue without me. I also asked myself: “What do I want out of life?” In 2000, my wife and I drew up a bucket list of places we wanted to visit and, since then, we’ve been on two overseas trips every year.

Chris Golis FIML is the CEO and lead presenter at Emotional Intelligence Courses.

Andy McLean MIML is the Editorial Director of Leadership Matters magazine.

This article originally appeared in the December 2019 print edition of Leadership Matters, IML ANZ’s exclusive Member’s magazine. For editorial suggestions and enquiries, please contact

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