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Three leadership secrets from easyJet boss Carolyn McCall

What is the secret to being a successful leader? easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall shares three of her top tips

1. Talent

Leadership and success, says McCall, are all about finding the right people to work with. “If you don’t get your team right, you’re done for. I learnt very early on that the best leaders have brilliant people around them – individuals they can trust and delegate to,” she explains. “If you don’t build a strong team then you’re constantly trying to solve other people’s issues and you don’t have time for your role as chief executive.”

So how does she attract great talent? “I simply show people the potential of the brand and what we can achieve together. When I started at easyJet I knew that I needed to build a high-performing team – I promoted a couple of people internally and brought in a few new individuals who had the right skills and qualities to help me do that. I look at the team I’ve got, and they’re fantastic – everyone at easyJet is driven and focused, but still has a sense of humour.”

2. Integrity

Integrity, advises McCall, is also crucial to leadership. “A reputation takes years to build and you can lose it in two seconds. Leaders need to be open and accessible, have a clear vision and the confidence to take decisions even if they’re difficult ones. I would rather tell people the truth, even if it’s really hard, than avoid the problem. I have never regretted playing it straight and being completely honest.”

3. Resilience

McCall also believes that resilience is important for leaders. “There are always going to be knocks and not everything will go well all the time. You’ll get hammered at points in your career and you have to have the resilience to keep going and believe in what you’re doing,” she adds.

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Articles are written by independent journalists and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of O2.


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