1. How do you personally define leadership?
I always think of the quote by John Quincy Adams, “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more become more then you are a leader”. I think that it is the role of a leader to inspire people to achieve their full potential, to help them be all that they can be. We need to be able to see the potential in people, nurture it, create the belief and then unleash it. We are capable of so much more than we believe is possible and it’s a leaders job to change that belief and help people see what they can truly achieve.
2. Who are some of the leaders that you admire and why?
Nelson Mandela is probably the leader I admire most, I think he has tremendous strength of character, and is a truly inspiring human being. He didn’t do what he did just for his own personal gain, he did it for his people, and not only that but he embraced the people who had oppressed him and included them in his new South Africa. He made a stand against his oppressors for what he believed was right, then made a stand against his supporters when he included his oppressors in his new South Africa. That took real courage and real vision, two of the key requirements of a leader. Other people who I had admire are those leaders who take ordinary people and achieve amazing goals. It is very easy to take amazing people and achieve amazing things, but a great leader can achieve them with ordinary people.
3. Who have been some of the influential leaders in your life?
My father was always a big influence, he came from a coal mining background going back generations, but he decided that was not what he wanted. He worked to become the first member of his family to win grammar school education and became an Electrical Engineer, this took courage as he wasn’t accepted in his new surroundings, nor in at home because he wanted to better himself, but he continued because he wanted to shape his own future.
Our school rugby coach was also a great influence on me, he took an average team and managed to create a belief that they could beat the best team in the league in a one-off cup final. With this belief he surprised not only us, but also our opposition as we created a shock result and won the cup. I was only 11 but it showed me the power of inspiration and what it could achieve.
I have also had many bosses who showed me what leadership wasn’t, they demotivated, provided no inspiration and created environments where blame and fear ruled, and this gave me great examples of what not to do.
Most of my working inspiration has come from my teams and the people who I have worked with and have achieved excellent results with, often at the start they lacked belief but once we created that, they went on to consistently raise their performance and repeatedly exceed expectations. This showed me what people were capable of and this is what gives me inspiration now.
4. What are some of the defining leadership moments of your life?
There are many key moments but the ones that really made me really see things differently as a leader were when I was involved in project when we delivered in 3 months what would normally took 18 months, this showed me what was truly possible, if you have a clear plan and an inspired team.
Another moment was when I had the opportunity to run a large department for 3 years and we were able to create long term sustainable success through following the principles that i believed in. This gave me confidence that my approach to leadership worked and would delivered continued success.
In my last company I had the opportunity to work with a Global team and could see that my approach to leadership was cross cultural. That no matter where people came from, if you worked from a position of respect and looked to inspire teams, this would be successful whether they were Asian, American, African, European or from the Middle East. Good leadership is good leadership no matter where you are and who you are dealing with.
5. What are you truly passionate about?
I am truly passionate about helping people achieve their full potential, helping them to see what they are truly capable of, and then helping them realise it.
6. Why should anyone be led by you?
Given my passion, if you let me lead you, I will help you be the best that you can be and help you to deliver outstanding results.
7. What are some of the key leadership lessons you would want to pass along to others?
Everyone is capable of doing a great job, we just need to ignite their passion, provide them with the right tools and support, and create the belief. It is as simple as that.
We should always challenge what we believe we are capable of, because we can all do more.
8. Who are the people in your life who make you a better person – and a better leader?
My Grandma was a big influence on me, she told me that no one was better than me, and also that I was no better than anyone else. Respect everyone and see yourself as equal to everyone. This makes me treat everyone with respect, which is a great way to lead.
My parents taught me right from wrong, and always encouraged me to do the right thing at all times, as a leader if we can do this we will attract many more followers.
Carine my wife, she gives me the confidence to be the person that I am which ensures that I retain my authenticity. Authentic leadership is the best approach to leadership in my opinion.
9. What are you reading?
I like to read crime thrillers and historical novels, so at the moment i am in the middle of two books, Revenge by Martina Cole and I am just finishing one by Conn Iggulden on Augustus called Emperor: Blood of the Gods.
I also read a lot of books on leadership, too many to mention, I tend to look at any that come available read part, or all of it, I think the more we know, the better the leader we will be.
10. Are you a good follower?
It all depends on the Leader, if the Leader is one that I respect then I can be a very good follower, but if not then, I don’t make a good follower as i find it tough to follow someone I don’t respect. But if I respect them then I will be a loyal follower.