Ken Tobin is a Director of HQTralee, Restaurateur and Marketing Strategist. HQTralee is a tech-development and co-working facility fostering Start-ups and SME’s in Tralee.
A Father of four and married to Emer, Ken is a Qualified Project Manager and Construction Economist and has a passion for business diversity and developing commerce through collaboration, marketing and innovation.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
Leadership can certainly be taught, but the actual application of leadership in itself is a trait not everyone will come to apply. It is very important to have an understanding of the principles of leadership, the skills and the management styles in order to develop an appreciation for Leadership.
If you could wind back the clock to when you were starting your career what advice would you give yourself?
Slow Down! The reality of business is that nothing is ever achieved overnight, that the end goal is constantly changing. If you set out with a strict objective you won’t leave yourself open to opportunities to pivot your business along the way.
When you are filling a leadership role in your organisation what qualities do you look for from candidates?
They must have the belief in their own ability to do something better than anyone else. A candidate must contain a particular skillset that other team members don’t have, and have the potential to make their role their own, while also showing a desire to bring the rest of the team along with them. If they have the passion and belief in their ability, the rest can be taught.
What are you doing today to make sure your organisation will be relevant in 10 years’ time.
In HQTralee we’ve recognised the importance of what we do on a community level, and the long-term impact for job creation and prosperity, not only within the physical walls of the campus, but in the wider area surrounding us. So we are pivoting into a company that puts in place a team that can focus in on the growth of our members and the business community around us through collaboration.
What leaders outside your own organisation do you admire and why?
Marcus Lemonis has a simple philosophy in his approach to business focusing in on getting the three principles of People, Process & Product right to make a business successful. It’s a philosophy that can be applied universally to any business.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
Read everything and anything you can, some will resonate, and some won’t, but it goes back to my thoughts on being open to opportunity. If you focus in on one key leadership style you won’t leave yourself open to alternative viewpoints. Certainly, one of the key books I often refer to when making a business decision is the ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’, but I find there is no better resource than surrounding yourself with other business people and leaders and listening to their stories.