A leader’s top six leadership lessons

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Jim Gavin, Director Of People & Operations, Irish Aviation Authority
Jim Gavin, Director Of People & Operations, Irish Aviation Authority

Mr. Jim Gavin, Director of People & Operations, Irish Aviation Authority, and highly successful manager of the senior Dublin county team from 2012 to 2019, shared his top six leadership lessons with the Conference.

“They are (1) Lead with purpose, direction and intent, (2) Understand that the buck stops with you, (3) Cultivate a growth mindset, (4) Understand the leadership paradox and (5) Cultivate a resilience mindset and be an authentic leader,” he said.

Quoting Dr Daniel Coleman, he said, ’A primary task of a leadership is to direct attention.  To do so, leaders must learn to focus their own attention.’

When things did not go right, the buck stopped with the leader and it was up to leaders to gain the trust of their people.   How a team behaved was the function of the leadership style.  You as leaders set the culture environment and the values.

Leaders also needed to cultivate a growth mindset. Here, there  were leadership lessons from the world of aviation.  Johnnie Johnson said – ‘Great pilots are made not born. . . . A person may possess good eyesight, sensitive hands, and perfect coordination, but the end result is only fashioned by steady coaching, much practice, and experience.’

“The leadership paradox is that when your teams are successful they will think they achieved it themselves.”

“Leaders also have to cultivate psychological safety, where people can advocate their positions  and resilience.  Resilient leaders make decisions that put them back in the driving seat. 

“It is important to understand that suffering happens in life. Be careful where you select your attention, make choices to put you back in the driving seat.  Everything can be taken away from man but one thing, choice,  the last of the human freedoms  – the ability to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.                                                 

“As leaders, we can all choose our own way – how we react to any given set of circumstances.”