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Let’s Talk Business with Richard Coles Leadership in Managing Teams

August 12, 2017 Headline News, Training No Comments Email Email

Recent research is highly consistent in its picture of LEADERS and LEADERSHIP.  The underlying theme is that the greater the uncertainty associated with change (or the greater the changes that are taking place in an organisation), the greater the need for stability.  The most potent source of stability under such conditions is consistency in the behaviour of the LEADER in support of a vision and the strategies for its implementation.  Several unique features of behaviour have been consistently identified as key contributors to effective LEADERSHIP.

The Leader Demonstrates ADAPTABILITY

Effective leaders welcome change and make it happen.  They apply the principle of continuous improvement not only to their own environment, but also to their own personal capacity to adapt.  Several characteristics of the successful adapter have been identified:

  • Looks ahead. The ability to stand back from the detail and from immediate operational demands, to take a longer-term view.  This also implies a willingness to focus on the big picture; the “helicopter view”.
  • Sees connections. The leader can see things from many different angles and points of view.  Warren Bennis talks about the ability to conceptualise complex chains of events over time, and then to plan actions that converts these ‘visions’ into reality.  Requires the ability to let go of ‘fact’ and ‘real’, and to supplement purely databased processes with an element of intuition.  Essentially a strategic process.
  • Challenges conventions. Effective leaders constantly challenge assumptions, and they encourage their people to do it.  Traditions (“how we do things here”) form a powerful element of an organisation’s culture, and may indeed contribute to its success; but the leader questions and challenge these at every opportunity.

The Leader Demonstrates CREDIBILITY and INTEGRITY

“Integrity exists when everyone in the organisation believes in its values, and behaves in a manner consistent with them: when managers (as leaders) say what they mean, and mean what they say. “It exists when people’s actions are consistent with their words, and their words are consistent with their own and the organisation’s values.”

Staff have clear expectations of their leaders as far as credibility and integrity are concerned:

  • Shows competence. If people are to feel commitment for the cause (the vision), they must believe that the leader is capable and effective – not just technically competent, but also skilled in challenging, inspiring, enabling and encouraging.
  • Shows humility. Winning hearts and minds is strongly influenced by the leader’s willingness to admit his limitations, and to be open about failures as well as successes.
  • Demonstrates consistency and trustworthiness. Demonstrated through behaviour.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Deliver what you promise.  Be open and direct with people.  Leaders are judged by actions, not by words or intentions.
  • Lives the values. Behaving in a way which is consistently faithful to a set of beliefs, thus signalling the acceptability of these behaviours to other people.
  • Creates confidence by listening. The leader is skilled in listening closely to people: hearing not only what they say, but also the “music behind the words”.  And by giving “listening signals” to people, the leader gives them confidence and builds a climate of trust and openness.

A Story of Value:

A popular speaker started off a seminar by holding up a $20 bill. A crowd of 200 had gathered to hear him speak. He asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

200 hands went up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He crumpled the bill up.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

All 200 hands were still raised.

“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” Then he dropped the bill on the ground and stomped on it with his shoes.

He picked it up, and showed it to the crowd. The bill was all crumpled and dirty.

“Now who still wants it?”

All the hands still went up.

“My friends, I have just showed you a very important lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, life crumples us and grinds us into the dirt. We make bad decisions or deal with poor circumstances. We feel worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. You are special – Don’t ever forget it!

“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.” 

Richard Coles, Owner of Coles International Training & Consulting researches, develops and delivers real world learning and organizational solutions to clients’ needs and problems around the world. One area of specialization is Customer Service and leadership initiatives. Richard was in the airline business for over 30 years in prominent roles and worked for the best, KLM, Qantas and Emirates, so understands the travel industry well. To discuss your training needs, challenges, goals and strategy, visit and email Richard on:

Corporate Consulting

We now offer a new arm of our business called Coles Corporate Consulting. This can involve introducing new customer service initiatives in your business, projects in strategy, helping with any team issues, communication gaps, and sales needs. Typically, this consulting intervention involves discussions to assess way forward to reach your goals, followed by recommendations on how we proceed.

As an example, I have experience in helping organizations reach their peak in customer service – the “great differentiator.” It is largely devoted to helping organizations improve their customer service therefore their viability, revenue and brand.

The consultancy and training has a strategy that helps spread the customer service message throughout the organizations. I learnt a long time ago that unless customer service is active throughout the company it will not happen. I call this a ‘seamless’ customer service involving everyone!

I can implement this customer service initiative or campaign in a company over a period of 3-12 months. I introduce the changes and then monitor in stages over time. It has a timeline and many ingredients to ensure the customer service aspects introduced stick, spread and last.

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