CEO of TSP Engineering and named ‘Best Businessperson of the Year’ in the 2019 in-Cumbria awards, John Coughlan knows a thing or two about success, business and leadership. To celebrate ‘International Leadership Week’ John answered a few short questions on leadership, sharing an insight to his career and views.

Did you always see yourself going into a leadership role?

I studied to be an Engineer but when I commenced working as an Engineer I could see the pathway to leadership and had it clearly in my sights from then. I was lucky enough to be asked to become the GM of a business in my mid 20’s and by the time I was 30 was given my first business turnaround role which I successfully turned the business around and after 2 years was asked to do the same in another business in Dumfries. I was lucky enough to get the chance to lead businesses around the world in places like US, Mexico, Philippines, Japan, Malaysia and across Europe.

What would you say are the most important attributes of a successful leader?

Teamwork is important and working alongside people helping them to succeed while having visibility of the big picture, knowing where you are leading the business to.

What advise would you give to someone entering a leadership position for the first time?

Understand that you cannot do everything yourself but have a clear vision of what you wish to achieve and plan how you will deliver success. You have to stand above the team so they look up to you and ensure they are focused on delivering the success you need delivered . T here must be a clear vision and understanding from the team members, of what their role is and what is required of them. You must be seen to lead.

Are there any leaders who inspire you?

Yes, Lee Iacocca and Steve Jobs. Also, Tony O’Reilly the Chairman, President, and CEO of Heinz he also ran independent newspapers at the same time. Finally, Michael Smurfit who I worked for at one time.