Our World Class Leadership Summit offered Academy members the opportunity to hear from a range of inspirational speakers, including Clipper Boat Race winning skipper Brendan Hall. Here Brendan shares why he asks his teams to feedback on ways he could improve as a leader.
So the final item on the agenda for the day was me. So I said to the crew I want you to do the same exercise we’ve just done but with me and my leadership. I’m out there, I’m practising it on you every single day so you’re the people that are best placed to tell me what I need to hear because I want to improve. So you know you do that and I’m going to take myself away, and I took myself off. So my presence wasn’t a censoring factor in their discussions and I went and I waited at the yacht club bar, and I won’t lie to you, I had a few stiff drinks and waited for them. And the conversation went on for what seemed like a very, very long time as the crew discussed my leadership and what they want to see more of and less of and eventually two of the crew came and gave me the summarised discussion points. And they came and sat down with me and said, “You know, before we get to the points that we raised we just want to say that once you left and we started the conversation, the sentiment that everyone had was that the respect that we have for you as a skipper and as a person just by doing that has gone up tenfold. By opening myself up to that criticism by showing that I was actually prepared to walk the talk, my reliability I was working on and that my self-orientation had now been turned around and was outwards, I wanted to do what was best for them and what was best for the team, even if it meant my ego took a bit of a knock in the process, because you know let’s face it even well-intentioned constructive criticism is never a nice pleasant thing to hear but absolutely essential if you want to grow. So that really stuck with me. The thing that won me the most respect as a young skipper wanting to win the respect desperately of this older more experienced crew. Opening myself up and showing that vulnerability was incredibly powerful and embracing that growth mindset.