Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly is Managing Director of Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare and the fourth generation Kelly to run the hotel. Bill returned to Kelly’s on completion of his training at Switzerland’s famous hotel school in Lausanne, where he met his wife-to-be Isabelle Avril, daughter of leading French wine-maker Paul Avril, from Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Bill and Isabelle took over the running of Kelly’s Hotel in 1987 with the management team and have overseen a range of developments at the hotel, including the development of the Aqua Club Leisure Centre, La Marine Bar/Restaurant, the modernisation of all bedrooms (enlarged and refurbished), addition of 30 rooms, redevelopment of all ground floor areas, gardens, children’s area, reception/gallery and the creation of the SEASPA. Bill and Isabelle have six daughters – Laura, Clara, Eva, Anna, Faye & Grace.

Can leadership be taught? If so, how?

I do think most leaders are born to lead and have that natural ability to communicate the vision and bring the team with them, however, the skillset to lead can certainly be improved with training.

What do you think is the difference between management and leadership?

Management is purely a hierarchy which means one has people working for them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that the managers concerned are great leaders. Leadership is about getting people to follow your vision and inspire others, achieving your goals as a company or group of people.

The world around us is changing faster than at any time in human history and we need more leaders to emerge. How do we make this happen?

Leadership in itself can be wonderful if channelled in the correct way, some of the world’s great leaders have nearly destroyed the world. ( ie Hitler). I would be worried about many of the right-wing leaders we have in many countries today, which in my view will have a very negative effect on society. Yes, we do need more leaders of quality with a vision and a passion to make the world a better place for everyone.

What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

Sometimes leadership can be full of words without the necessary strategy to make things happen, it is very important that the vision is followed up with a strategic programme to back it up. The glamour quickly wears off when you realise this attitude doesn’t get the job done. Every leadership position is temporary and is a privilege to serve others.

What advice would you give to someone dealing with a high-pressure situation in their life or work?

I think it vital to try to find a life-work balance, the best leaders are often the best at delegating. A healthy lifestyle and exercise helps alleviate stress and improves performance.

What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?

I think it is a mix of a variety of resources from books on strategy like Charles Handy to more service-oriented publications “The customer is King” or “Moments of Truth”. Reading articles from businesses and leaders in newspapers etc all helps one’s vision and ability to lead.