Mahan Tavakoli, CEO Strategic Leadership Ventures & Host Partnering Leadership

Mahan Tavakoli, CEO Strategic Leadership Ventures & Host Partnering Leadership

Mahan Tavakoli is the CEO of Strategic Leadership Ventures and hosts a podcast, “Partnering Leadership”.



Leadership is an important function that enables an organization (business, government, charitable, etc.) to focus its energies and resources on the common accomplishment of the organizational goals. The people in an organization can only direct their efforts in the right direction when they have a leader to look forward to.

Leaders can define workplace cultures that foster the accomplishment of common goals. What are the key attributes that an efficient leader ought to have? Is (s)he was born with such qualities, or can be developed? We have your answers covered in today’s episode of “The Brand Called You.”

About Mahan Tavakoli

Mahan Tavakoli is the CEO of Strategic Leadership Ventures and hosts a podcast, “Partnering Leadership”. Today, he discusses the qualities one needs to build upon to become an effective leader.


Mahan starts the discussion with if leaders are born or made. While giving reasoning, he explains how people with initial capability fail to build on it, and thus, leadership can be developed over time.

He explains, “The best leaders are the ones who are constantly learning.”

Mahan explains that an attitude of “learn-it-all” rather than “know-it-all makes a good leader.

Leadership Challenges

Mahan talks about how the capabilities of leaders are brought out by different situations. He cites the example of Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He explains that his leadership attributes would not have become evident in an otherwise situation.

He further shares how historical events brought out the leadership qualities of people like Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King.

The biggest challenge that organizations face is aligning their organization with strategy, enabling the workforce to work in the accomplishment of that direction. He also shares an anecdote to support his statement.

Mahan further shares his view on managing the challenge of ego, which can sabotage any leader. He refers to Ryan Holiday’s book, “Ego is the Enemy”, that if leaders feel that already know everything, they are at a loss.

He explains, “Ego can only be managed by understanding that they know a lot less than they think they do.”

Impact of Culture

Mahan further shares his views on the impact of culture on organizations.

He rightfully says, “It is important to keep in mind that while there are cultural influences that come from families, environment, country and other factors, there are also clear influences that can be nurtured.”

It is upon the leaders to define such workplace culture.

Food For Thought

Mahan speaks at great length about how leadership majorly boils down to individual capabilities and the principles remain similar in different sectors like business, government, and social.

He also shares his views on the fresh perspective that millennials and GenZs are bringing into the business world. He says, “With them entering the business, the accountability system is now no longer just about the stakeholders.”

At last, Mahan lists down the three key lessons for the audience:

  • Embody learn-it-all than know-it-all
  • We need to focus on what we can control
  • Look for meaning and purpose in all that you do


Mahan Tavakoli is a highly accomplished executive with a multi-faceted background in US and global operations management.

Over a 20+ year career at Dale Carnegie Training, Mahan was instrumental in launching, marketing, revitalizing, and turning around underperforming operations on five continents.

He is also credited with building the fastest growing, and highest performing operations for Dale Carnegie out of 90+ countries.

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