There used to be a time when leadership was reserved to a handful of people.
The CEOs, the MDs or Heads of… would be the only kind of people who could claim to be leaders. Because leadership was a function of their title, only those sitting at the top of the building, in the corner office, could rightly assert themselves as leaders.
Things have changed considerably over the last decade and mostly because in the Travel & Tourism industry, as in many others, change, innovation, creativity, staying ahead of your competition and understanding your customers in details has become such an all-consuming, powerful driver for business that no one person can assume to understand it and know it all.
Let’s think about, for example, the issues of safety and security, how destinations are winning and losing in the battle to attract customers, not necessarily because of what they offer but as result of world politics and terrorism. We need everyone’s ideas and contribution.
In summary, it is the complexity of the world we live in as travel and tourism professionals as well as travel and tourism consumers that forces us to look at leadership with very different eyes. As companies and businesses operating in this place we need to ask the questions: How are our leadership needs changing? How can we empower capable employees so that they can feel, think and see themselves as leaders? How can we make the most of the leadership qualities inherent in most if not all of our colleagues and staff?
As women, this new way of thinking and approaching leadership is good news and can have far-reaching consequences:
- Women are not often precious about titles, but they are precious about the quality and impact of their work. This means that in a new leadership context we are more likely to feel that WE CAN make an impact and WE CAN influence and WE CAN enable positive change by doing what we do best at whatever level we might be.
- Women no longer feel under pressure to replicate old fashioned model of leadership that are often geared toward males and male personalities. Because leadership is encouraged at every level and leadership traits are sought after in everyone, we can be our authentic self and be successful with it.
So let us not be stopped by artificial barriers and corner offices!
What our travel businesses need is our rich palette of skills to resolve everyday issues around creativity, innovation and change. As women in travel and tourism we must elevate our games to ensure we embrace this new leadership revolution fully.