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NEWS Last modified on September 23, 2011

Airports must invest in leaders of tomorrow

A key aspect of good airport management is the ability to identify and develop the leaders of tomorrow, according to Munich Airport CEO, Michael Kerkloh.

A key aspect of good airport management is the ability to identify and develop the leaders of tomorrow, according to Munich Airport CEO, Michael Kerkloh.


Kerkloh, addressing delegates at the second day of the inaugural Leadership and Change Management Forum in Dublin, insisted that good leadership included the ability to  “ensure the future development of leadership at your airport.”


During a session called ‘CEOs in conversation: leadership in the 21st Century’, he said that airport bosses need to identify the right people early on who will be able to continue to take the business forward, train them and then develop their skills so that at any one time leaders have the right number of qualified people at their disposal.


He also said that one of the key elements to running a successful airport was being able to “simplify complex missions” and speak in a language that everyone could understand.


Speaking specifically about Munich Airport, he said it was important for managers not to get complacent and lazy during the good times, but make sure there is a continuous strive for excellence by “doing difficult things in prosperous times.”


The themes of talent spotting, entrepreneurship and innovation, were prevalent throughout the second day of the conference, and professor Daniel Evans, chief innovation officer at EML Executive Development, drove home the need for airport leaders and CEOs to attract, develop, retain, and create value from the right sort of people in their organisations.


He said: “Managers need to hunt out innovative and creative talent at the interview stage. Find people who can balance today’s needs with tomorrow’s needs.


“Leaders need to seek out and create other leaders to drive the business forward, and hire people with the right competencies to take the airport to the next level.”


He added that not only do these people need to be found to push the business forward, but they need to be given the room and “machine to express themselves.”


The second day of the forum also saw Theresa Fleidl, chair of Airport HR Net Europe and vice president of personnel and development, professional training policy, HR marketing at Munich Airport, talk about human resources and talent management in the airport sector.


Meanwhile, interactive streamed workshops took place after lunch which saw delegates take part in various discussions concerning talent management and how to attract, train and develop future airport leaders.

The conference was closed by Declan Collier, CEO of Dublin Airport and president of ACI Europe, who left delegates with the thought that leadership is about people.

He said: "It is about people after all, you must identify the right people, identify the bright people. Talk to them, enthuse them then let them go out and spread your message."

 

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