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Leadership in lockdown

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Leadership in lockdown 1

By Liz Sebag-Montefiore coach and Director of 10Eighty

Working from home, and the move to a virtual workplace for some, has seen the importance of distributed leadership significantly increased. This is characterised by a move away from a command and control mode of working in a centralised infrastructure, to a leadership style where decisions are taken on the ground.

Traditionally, leaders were at the organisation’s centre, driving organisational objectives; but being an employee centric operator in a distributed leadership model completely reverses this approach, requiring leaders to align organisational objectives to employee needs.

Distributed leadership empowers team members to take decisions as best fits the situation, and is predicated on the organisation delegating and trusting employees. It’s illustrated by the Sandhurst model i.e. it’s the operative in the field who makes the decisions not the colonel back at base, who outlined the mission and sent them out.

New ways of working

Leading a team is more challenging than ever when some are in the office and some at home, working alongside colleagues who are shielding and perhaps covering for those on furlough or made redundant. It’s a worrying time for employees and a headache for management and HR to manage and motivate the team; there is a lot that leaders and managers can do to make it easier for colleagues and to ensure a sustainable and productive work environment.

Focus on your people

Such leaders need to be employee centred and ready to sculpt jobs around the employee’s needs, exploiting the strengths and developing the potential of each worker. An employee centric approach requires that leaders spend time connecting with their employees – listening, observing, using emotional intelligence and creating bespoke career paths for each team member (the opposite of a one-size-fits-all approach to defining job roles).

These are “persuasive leaders, who maintain their position by virtue of the personal capacity to express and persuade their followers.”, FC Bartlett, Psychology and the Soldier (1927).

To improve engagement at work, you need to recognise that in times of uncertainty we need to support each other. The best leaders seek to connect with and understand others, they prioritise the team’s needs and build an environment of trust and support. It’s about nurturing relationships rather than just undertaking tasks. These are leaders who motivate others to collaborate, develop, and perform, even in difficult times.

Make connections

Focus on connecting with the team to create a sense of belonging. When employees feel they are included and that they have a voice within the organisation, they perceive the organisation as caring for them as individuals. Loyalty is two-way street, you get it by giving it.

Liz Sebag-Montefiore

Liz Sebag-Montefiore

Strive to communicate support for each team member and make everyone responsible for supporting each other and team goals. Encourage everyone to value what others bring to the table, advocate for everyone’s voice to be heard, and invest in team growth and development. Include employee input in organisational values to show workers they have a meaningful role in building an inclusive workplace.

Particularly during the pandemic, and the difficult working conditions it imposes, clear and regular communication is vital. For a workplace to be productive, communications need to be open and positive. Feedback has never been more important but try to tailor methods of communication and timing to what works for each team member, as different people absorb information in different ways.

Trust and accountability

Trust is crucial when the team is scattered and working remotely; ensure your team don’t feel the need to prove they are working all the time. Set clear goals and where you need people to work collaboratively, set up Zoom facilities and use networking and information-sharing platforms. Trust enhances willingness to cooperate and collaborate and improves the likelihood of workers going the extra mile for their employer. Where there is a good level of trust, employees are more likely to be committed to working towards strategic goals.

The key to establishing clear accountability is to set out expectations, goals, and deadlines. It’s important to provide regular updates on progress, including ongoing communication about how everyone’s contributions and achievements impact organisational success. Leaders also need to demonstrate accountability through their own availability and commitment to their team.

Leaders create team culture through their own attitudes and behaviours. Consider yourself as a role model and ask what team culture you are creating. To build productive and high-performing teams you need a culture that’s positive and open to new ideas, creativity, and innovation; the sort of culture that attracts talent and those who thrive on teamwork.

Network for success

Create a robust network and encourage regular and structured communication. Build in a personal element to encourage catch up time so team members connect with each other despite being physically separated. Open online meetings with time at the start for colleagues to chat about what is going on in their lives just as they would do if they were in the office.

Celebrating success is important in building engagement, so ensure you value each contribution and acknowledge anyone who needs a ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’; a few words go a long way in building rapport and fellowship. Showing appreciation for colleagues can boost the confidence of those feeling isolated when working from home and bolster the autonomy and accountability of those who make your organisation a success.

A leader needs to look after their own growth and wellbeing in order to support the team. Prioritise what is needed to maintain your energy levels while dealing with the myriad of challenges our new way of working brings without anxiety or loss of focus.

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Boeing, hit with $6.6 million FAA fine, faces much bigger 787 repair bill – sources

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Boeing, hit with $6.6 million FAA fine, faces much bigger 787 repair bill - sources 2

By Eric M. Johnson and David Shepardson

SEATTLE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co will pay a $6.6 million to U.S. regulators as part of a settlement over quality and safety-oversight lapses going back years, a setback that comes as Boeing wrestles with repairs to flawed 787 Dreamliner jets that could dwarf the cost of the federal penalty.

Boeing is beginning painstaking repairs and forensic inspections to fix structural integrity flaws embedded deep inside at least 88 parked 787s built over the last year or so, a third industry source said.

The inspections and retrofits could take weeks or even up to a month per plane and are likely to cost hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars, depending to a large degree on the number of planes and defects involved, the person said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Boeing had agreed to pay $6.6 million in penalties after the aviation regulator said it failed to comply with a 2015 safety agreement.

The penalties include $5.4 million for not complying with the agreement in which Boeing pledged to change its internal processes to improve and prioritize regulatory compliance and $1.21 million to settle two pending FAA enforcement cases.

“Boeing failed to meet all of its obligations under the settlement agreement, and the FAA is holding Boeing accountable by imposing additional penalties,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. Boeing, which paid $12 million in 2015 as part of the settlement, did not immediately comment.

Boeing engineers are working to determine the scope of inspections, including whether jets can be used as-is without a threat to safety, two people said. Boeing has not told airlines how many jets are impacted, another person said.

The FAA has been investigating instances of oversight lapses, debris left inside finished aircraft, and managers putting pressure on employees handling safety checks for the FAA, people familiar with the proceedings said.

For example, in August 2020, Boeing told to the FAA about the flaw involving structural wrinkling in the interior fuselage skin where carbon-composite barrels that form the plane’s lightweight body are melded together.

But the defect went unnoticed for months or longer because computerized safeguards that crunch data looking for quality flaws had not been programmed to look for the gaps, a third industry source said.

DELIVERY TARGET

The 787 production problems have halted deliveries of the jet since the end of October, locking up a source of desperately needed cash for Boeing.

The fuel-efficient 787 has been a huge success with airlines, which have ordered 1,882 of the advanced twin-aisle jet worth nearly $150 billion (74.7 billion pounds) at list prices.

But the advanced production process and sprawling global supply chain caused problems over the years.

As of February, Boeing had fixed the 787 production process causing the wrinkling defect, according to two people familiar with the matter.

However, planes rolled off the assembly line with the flaw for more than a year, at least, continuing even after the flaw was discovered in August 2020.

“It’s difficult to see a definitive fix that is agreeable by the aviation authorities and all going forward,” Boeing customer Air Lease Corp’s CEO John Plueger told analysts on an earnings call Feb 22. “I don’t think that we’re there yet.”

Boeing has been working on the fuselage problem, and two additional potentially hazardous defects that arose since 2019, as it charted plans to consolidate final assembly of the 787 in South Carolina starting next month, at a sharply reduced rate of 5 787s per month.

One senior supply chain source said they will have to cut rate again.

Boeing said last month it expects to resume handing over a small number of 787s to customers later this quarter.

It has an ambitious internal plan to deliver 100 of the jets this year, one person said. Analysts say deliveries are not expected to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.

‘OPEN-HEART SURGERY’

But before any jet is delivered, it must go through invasive inspections and costly repairs.

First, technicians must pull out the passenger seats, open up the floor paneling and use specialty tools to measure whether defects invisible to the naked eye are present, according to three people with direct knowledge of the process.

The repair work – already underway at Boeing factories in Everett, Washington and North Charleston, South Carolina – is even harder.

In the bowels of the jet, technicians have to remove multiple specialty fasteners on both sides of the inner fuselage skin, then install newly produced “shims” that fill out gaps and remove the structural dimpling. Workers then replace all the fasteners, re-paint, and re-install the interior, they said.

“It’s like open heart surgery,” one of the people said. “They’ll be retrofitting the fleet for potentially several years.”

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris, David Shepardson in Washington, and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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On a retro style milk truck, London entrepreneur chases a ‘zero waste’ future

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On a retro style milk truck, London entrepreneur chases a 'zero waste' future 3

By Natalie Thomas

LONDON (Reuters) – Heralded by the whirr of its underpowered electric engine and the clink of bottles stacked in crates on the back, Ella Shone’s ‘Topup Truck’ started life ferrying morning milk to the doorsteps of bleary-eyed Londoners.

Twenty years on, and the light vehicle known as a ‘milk float’ – once a ubiquitous sight on British streets – is enjoying a second career selling a range of goods and serving the 32-year-old’s quest to rid the city of single-use plastic.

“The fact that I’m driving around in a milk float does a lot for raising awareness in the local area,” said Shone, wearing a black beanie during her rounds in the borough of Hackney last week. “So now I’m operating at almost full capacity.”

Furloughed from her sales job during the coronavirus pandemic last spring, Shone used savings to start her new business, aiming to meet growing demand for household goods free of the plastic packaging used in supermarkets.

Customers book a visit from the ‘Topup Truck’ online and then purchase goods such as lentils, pasta, olive oil, shampoo or washing up liquid using their own containers.

From a low base a decade ago, the market for such unpackaged bulk goods could hit at least 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) by 2030 in the European Union, according to a report https://zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020_06_30_zwe_pfs_executive_study.pdf by Zero Waste Europe, an anti-waste network.

While handling the logistics can be a challenge, Shone calculates that her service has eliminated the need for at least 12,700 pieces of plastic since it launched in August.

Planning a crowdfunder to retrofit her milk float to enable her to serve a greater range of products to more communities, Shone hopes her novel approach will inspire others to find creative ways to tackle waste.

“If we want to have real change, it has to be a collective effort,” she said.

($1 = 0.8218 euros)

(Writing by Matthew Green, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

 

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Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery

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Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery 4

BERLIN (Reuters) – Lufthansa is adding more holiday destinations to its summer flight schedule from Germany in anticipation of a strong rebound in bookings, it said on Thursday, betting COVID-19 vaccines and testing will soon make vacation travel possible.

Germany’s largest airline said it was planning to add around 20 new destinations from Frankfurt and 13 from Munich to locations such as the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and Greece.

COVID-19 vaccines and testing, along with strict hygiene rules at airports and on planes, will be prerequisites for travel this summer, it said.

“We expect many countries to relax travel restrictions towards the summer as more and more people have been vaccinated,” Lufthansa board member Harry Hohmeister said in a statement.

Hohmeister said the airline, which secured a 9 billion euro ($11 billion) state bailout last year, expects a sharp increase in demand once restrictions are lifted.

Concerned about more transmissible coronavirus mutations, many European Union countries have reinstated border controls in what is normally a passport-free travel zone.

“There is a great yearning for travel and we believe that the summer months will reflect this,” Hohmeister added.

In Britain, holiday bookings soared this week after the government laid out plans to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions, giving battered airlines and tour operators hope that a bumper summer could come to their rescue.

Plans for relaxing coronavirus travel restrictions have not been announced yet in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to discuss lockdown options with the head of the regional governments next Wednesday.

Lufthansa, which said in January it was losing a million euros every two hours, is due to publish its fourth quarter results on March 4.

($1 = 0.8187 euros)

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Ilona Wissenbach. Editing by Mark Potter)

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