Leadership in today’s society is anything but straightforward. For Domenico Dargenio, it was a burning interest in people that took him on a journey from engineering to finding a passion for driving human-centric transformation and creating business impact, all while making work a better place for people. Here, he talks about his leadership journey, providing some very useful insights along the way.

Please tell us about you and your role within the world of work.

I’m an Italian living in Finland. I originally studied engineering, however, nowadays I’m much more interested in people and people-related topics, such as coaching, psychological safety, and business transformation among others. Today, I work as an independent consultant (Dardo Consulting), after leaving the corporate world behind. I may have a daughter, and a Swedish wife, and am nearly 44 years old, but I’m still learning and figuring out what exactly I want to do when I grow up!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy working with people, however, working as an independent consultant means I am mostly working alone. I want to make an impact and I’m interested in making organizations more human-centric. I especially enjoy developing concepts together with customers.

Tell us about your experience at Hyper Island.

My time with Hyper Island began in the spring of 2019. I took an open Advanced Business collaboration course.

I found it to be highly experiential. I enjoyed the design of the journey, which was emotional and built on deep connections. The course exceeded my expectations in every way, particularly as I didn’t know much about Hyper Island prior to joining. My experience helped to ‘validate’ the course/product for me and I was positively surprised.

How has Hyper Island methodology impacted your work?

It’s changed my mindset towards learning so much. Two things that really stuck with me are
Exponential Learning and the FIRO Model.

Regarding Exponential Learning, I realized after the course that we have to take the people to the experience, which meant that we switched up old concepts and raised the bar internally.

As for the FIRO model, when it comes to basic human needs, this is definitely a framework that I still use. For me, the model gives a fresh perspective on how to understand my own interpersonal needs as it influences my style of communication and certain behaviors. Feedback in particular has been revolutionary for me and my team. It’s helped me build trust with my team, it’s shaped my communication in terms of style and tone whenever I was giving feedback, and it’s kept the team motivated.

Tell us about your leadership-related challenges and the tools you use to overcome them.

The Hyper Island course has helped me change my approach to conflict and handling relations with stakeholders. It helped me to understand that I needed to shift my perspective and approach the situation in a different way.

The I (EYE) model on feedback and communication has helped me with talking from my own perspective.


It’s not only been a success with my own team but it’s also been key in managing stakeholders. Something just clicked for me in Stockholm. There was a particularly difficult stakeholder, and I realized that I needed to change my perspective and approach, as the current way of handling it wouldn’t lead to a satisfactory solution for either party. The FIRO model also became so powerful and impactful in this situation as it helped me to understand others’ behaviors and feelings.

I believe it’s important to be able to be very open and vulnerable with the team.

What is your proudest leadership moment?

Seeing my team carry out and achieve amazing things. There have been many of them, and I look at it not as ‘my achievement’, but rather as our team’s achievement. My proudest moments are when the team achieves great things without needing my constant support.

Which supporting skills do you think are most important when it comes to leadership?

Most definitely self-awareness and the way in which you communicate. After the way I was giving feedback during the Hyper Island course, I started using different methodologies for giving feedback. I believe feedback should be given in a very honest, open, and respectful way, where everyone can share how they’re feeling in a safe space.

It’s super important for anyone in a leadership position to understand their strengths and weaknesses, their triggers and emotions, and to control those emotions and be proactive about the triggers. It’s also just as important to understand that it’s not all about you, but just as much about the team as well. Leave the ego at the door, and focus on creating an environment where people can flourish.

Would you recommend Hyper Island?

I would, of course, recommend Hyper Island. I think a great way to approach the answer to this question is through ‘why not?’.
If you want to stay in your comfort zone and stay in your usual ways of doing things and not develop, then don’t go to Hyper Island. But if you want to grow and challenge yourself, learn more about yourself, and stretch your emotional intelligence, then Hyper Island is your place!


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Article updated on: 31 May 2024