Leadership: Praising Downward When Things Go Right
Founder and CEO of ParkHub
I am Founder and CEO of ParkHub. I have spent more than 25 years dedicated to the parking industry beginning with 11 years managing large-scale operations across numerous sectors. More recently, I am the Founder and CEO of innovative parking technology stack designed to solve the challenges and frustrations experienced on the operations side – with an open ecosystem approach.
What makes a leader?
I’ve been involved in many organizations designed to hone leadership skills. From Boy Scouts as a child - where I earned the Eagle Scout rank, to groups like the Mayor Star Council, the United Way, and now a YPO member. These experiences helped me identify many important tenets expected of leaders, including loyalty, trust, respect, communication, and even passion. However, leadership is about more than understanding the importance of these values, it’s about living them and adhering to them in every action.
What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
The line between a good manager and a leader is quite blurred. Leadership is demonstrating ownership and humility when you fall short and praising downward when things go right. Managers can rise to leadership, and you can be a good manager by being a good leader. However, you can’t be a good manager without being a good leader. The fact that the lines are so blurred is actually the impetus for good management.
How do you motivate yourself to see things anew every day?
As a serial entrepreneur I love to build and create solutions to problems. No two days are ever the same. There is always something to do; a problem to fix, an opportunity to solve.
What are the biggest challenges you face today in 2022 as a leader?
The biggest challenge right now is employee retention and the recent workforce transformation. More than 4.5 million people have left their jobs, with 45 percent of current employees considering new opportunities.
Do the C titles make a difference and if so, how?
This is a difficult question. My overall philosophy is that titles do not matter.
However, C titles do play a role to the extent that as a business matures, there are responsibilities that must be met. Issues like compliance, fiduciary duties, staffing, and more ensure an organization can flourish.
However, good leadership practices like inspiring employees, and bringing everyone together around a Vision and Purpose are key at any level.
From historical figures to people in public eye, who would you want to be your leader/CEO?
If I could choose anyone as a leader it would be George Washington. Who better than the first president of the United States, and one of the founding fathers who helped establish the freest country on earth? Plus, he has a fantastic first name.
What are the essential ingredients for a successful team?
This is similar to how a C-title changes as a business evolves and matures. The most important element is making sure everyone is on the same page regarding the Vision and goals of your organization. This helps to ensure that all team members understand where you are headed and what role they can play in getting you there. Other important elements include passion, purpose, and a mutually agreed upon set of values.
What is your dream job?
I honestly think I’m doing it. In addition to my role helping clients solve their parking challenges, I’m also thrilled to contribute to my community as Cubmaster for our local Scouting program, and mentor with organizations like United Way Social Innovation Accelerator and the Dallas Entrepreneurial Center, a business incubator in Dallas. I’ve been fortunate to have many personal mentors help me throughout my life, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the balance I’ve been able to strike professionally, and as a community volunteer and mentor.
How to you re-invent yourself daily to avoid being complacent?
One of my motivations is that failure is neither fatal nor final, you just need to have the courage to keep going. For instance, in the technology world we acknowledge that sometimes a bug ends up becoming a feature. That’s a great way to look at any challenge and applies to many areas. There is always an opportunity to find the good in a situation, and that outlook ensures that one never becomes complacent in their day-to-day.”
GeoRge Baker is Founder and CEO of ParkHub