Thursday, 2 February 2012
Leaders get out of the fox hole first, flying the flag ...
Excerpt from Christchurch International Airport Ltd CEO Jim Boult’s address to Rotary Youth Leadership Award, Christchurch, January 2012
… Leadership is about setting example and communicating. It’s about demonstrating to your team that you are the person who is prepared to get out of the fox hole first, flying the flag and encouraging others to follow you. It’s about having courage to make tough decisions which won’t always be popular - and to do what’s needed to see them through.
It’s about relating to other people, no matter what their status. It’s about sharing successes on an equal basis with everyone in the team.
And it’s about humility … in good times and in bad, including the times of facing failures with the team, accepting responsibility, learning and moving on.
Leaders are people in whom others put their trust and confidence, from whom they get their vision and professional purpose. These are also qualities which earn respect and give some degree of comfort in difficult times.
People in leadership positions, as well as every other person prepared to show personal leadership, will have to fully commit to what’s required. The challenge is to focus on what’s needed, rather than what’s wanted.
Successful leaders have the happy knack of engaging others, which means they demonstrate what they expect. They don’t talk - they do; they shine the light on the good and the not-so-good. They know when it’s time to be in the trenches with the team and standing on top giving orders.
Successful leaders depend on the people around them. It’s important to be modest so others feel they can speak up when you’re around. And when they do, listen carefully and let them see you are doing that.
It’s OK to disagree – in fact it’s healthy and often it’s when some really good ideas and plans take shape. No leader has all the answers – that’s way too much pressure!
So go well on the next leg of your journey … be proud of who you are and all you have achieved to date. Believe in yourself. Look after yourself – and your family and friends. Show people what you stand for - display personal leadership at all times and professional leadership when you get the chance.
Watch and learn from people you aspire to be like or work with. Leaders learn from both success and failure – sometimes learning from success presents bigger challenges.
Above all, be the best you can be. That’s leadership.
You are young leaders – I invite you to grow into older leaders.