As a leader with the responsibility for hundreds of lives in his hands, Joe is an Airbus A380 pilot for an International Airline. Joe's challenge is effectively building a new team every time he steps on-board and meets his crew, which for an office chap like me is an incredibly hard task to get my head around. Having known Joe for a couple of years, I can also say he's remarkably humble, engaging and always 'present' - all great characteristics of a modern leader.
Who is the best boss you've had and why?
Fortunately I can to say that my current Fleet Boss Captain Martin Gardiner has been able to lead us through some very transitional times. He enabled us to get on with the job and remain focussed on the operational aspects which is our primary responsibility. He is our go to guy for all day to day issues and he always gets back to you with honest feedback. Having a leader who follows up is vital in our business. His vast operational experience means he has a first hand understanding of the needs of his frontline staff and the challenges they face on a daily basis. Knowing you have a leader who has your back empowers you to give back more.
What are your top 3 tips for being a better leader?
1. Build a strong team that you can trust. Let them do their job knowing that you're there to support and mentor them along the way. When things don’t go to plan they are often the sharpest ones to deal with the issues while you build the big picture and utilise their input to find the best solution.
2. Always maintain ownership of your operation. A strong leader will take responsibility for any shortcomings and finds a way to learn and evolve at every opportunity….bringing their team along on the journey.
3. Brief and debrief - this is the backbone of successful development - a brief serves the purpose of coming together to formulate a team plan and ensure everybody understands the desired outcome and their role - this is empowering and part of the team forming process. This also minimises the potential for communication errors and the debrief allows everyone to provide input and is the time to hi-light observations of what went well and more importantly what the team can learn to refine their processes.
What conventional corporate wisdom no longer applies in today's workplace?
Having external industrial consultants working to get an outcome on behalf of a business can decimate team engagement and hard earned loyalty can be wiped out. This in turn can damage customer satisfaction and also their loyalty. We now see an increasing trend of measuring employee engagement and placing value on loyalty by listening to employees. Then using this feedback to develop realistic and mutually beneficial outcomes that create far more value for the whole business.
Workplaces are changing, I predict...
There will be a greater focus on giving staff more freedom in how they work. More organic workplaces, open plan offices with stand up space and the freedom to move around the work environment, Variable hours and also variable staff coming and going depending on the project. The benefits of making staff feel more comfortable has been proven and I think that this will be an evolving science.