Leaders Need to Emulate Lincoln
CEO North America for Hub Parking Technology and Tiba Parking Systems.
What makes a leader? “Leader” is a big and very important word which is sometimes over utilized. To be a real leader means to surround yourself with great people who you can cultivate into a team of competent, confident individuals who work well together. You then have the ability to listen, as well as guide them towards a well-defined vision by clearly communicating short and long terms goals, inspiring confidence and trust, and influencing common efforts through a natural alignment to your style and personality rather than by a position of authority. Ultimately, a true great leader creates and nurtures the future leaders.
What is the difference between the leader and a manager? A manager influences the execution of an activity of his team by a position of authority assigned to him by the company, top-down approach. The leader can achieve the same results –even without a title or direct authority on the same team – but just by a natural bottom-up recognition.
What are the biggest challenges you face today in 2022 as a leader? Inflation climbed to a 39-year high last December, combined with a strong consumer demand and subsequent supply challenges made even more difficult by the Pandemic outbreak. Input costs across the board are going up and it’s a cross-industry impact which is a big hit to pass to the market. At the same time, it’s creating an insane dynamic on the job market with inflated salary levels which are chasing an artificial CPI due to very low unemployment rate. The expected result in two years, when prices will go down and unemployment will go back to normal rates, is that we may enter in a painful recession.
Do the C titles make a difference and if so, how? It’s an interesting question. I’m personally not a big fan of titles. Once, the well-respected C-Suite was extremely selective and limited to a handful group
f true executives who were climbing the ladder and officially promoted
to access to the “reserved rooms” as a result of years of demonstrated performances and leadership
traits. Nowadays, unfortunately, C-titles have become a “negotiation factor” so title counts as part of the salary. It’s a way companies compete in the marketplace by offering, in combination with salary, more prestigious titles that would even help the employee’s resume down the road, with the result of an industry saturated
with inflated titles where the experience doesn’t line up. It’s like increasing the number of A grades given in a classroom, so cheapening the prestige and achievement that top titles and high grades once signaled.
From historical figures to people in public eye, who would you want to be your leader/CEO? With no doubt, Abraham Lincoln for the key traits he was clearly able to demonstrate and the fundamental milestones he was able to achieve for our country in an environment typical of a today’s business complex scenario, where he showed:
• Crisis leadership
• Economic management
• Moral authority
• Relations with Congress/Stakeholders/ Shareholders
• Vision/Agenda setting and follow up
What are the essential ingredients for a successful team?
1- An interesting and appealing challenge
2- A team, preferably with a good diversity, hungry to deliver and achieve
3- Feeling of comfort in knowing that it’s normal sometimes to make mistakes and start over.
What is your dream job? My dream job has always been to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on all the stakeholders of the system: starting from our employees, to our customers, our shareholders, partners, suppliers, our communities and institutions. Someone sometimes makes fun of me saying that I’m a workaholic. The reality is that when you love what you do, you don’t feel like you are working and if you really want to make an impact there’s always a lot to do to constantly improve.
How to you re-invent yourself daily to avoid being complacent? Great question! In our industry I don’t think there’s room for complacency. The competition is pretty strong and the recipe to stay ahead of the game is either to lower prices or to innovate and offer new solutions. Of course, we work on the latter one. As a result, myself and our team are constantly in a “re-invention” mode avoiding predictability in the solutions we launch. Because our competitors might arrive at the predictable solutions maybe even faster than us. That’s how we avoid being complacent. //
Luca Bovalino is the CEO North America for Hub Parking Technology and Tiba Parking Systems.