Pádraig McGillicuddy

Pádraig McGillicuddy is a tourism and hospitality industry professional with more than 20 years experience in various management roles both internationally and in his native Ireland. Raised in a family run hotel,  Ballygarry House Hotel in Tralee, he went on to study Hotel Management at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. His international hotel management experiences include roles in Lausanne, Switzerland and Sydney, Australia. Pádraig returned to Ireland in 1999, where he helped manage both Maryborough House and Hayfield Manor in Cork, before returning to Tralee to take over the family business, Ballygarry House Hotel in 2002. Shortly after taking on this responsibility, Pádraig initiated an aggressive €6M business development plan for Ballygarry, including the complete renovation of the hotel, the addition of a luxury spa, 30 additional hotel rooms and suites, and The Pavilion at Ballygarry. Ballygarry is now considered one of Munster’s most successful hotels and employs 140 staff, 95 of which are full time. In 2017 the hotel undertook a further €4.5 million development to enhance the ground floor Food & Beverage offering with the addition of The Brasserie, Restaurant 58, extended ground floor services and a new entrance to the hotel with extensive landscaping.

Pádraig is extremely active and passionate about the development of the tourism industry in Tralee and throughout Kerry. He was Chairperson of Holiday Tralee from 2006 to 2012 and was a founding member and President of Tralee Chamber Alliance. Pádraig has also served as a voluntary Chairperson of Fatima Home for 5 years. Pádraig is an avid trekker and aviation enthusiast and has flown as far north as the Arctic Circle by helicopter. He recently completed a 3-week trek in the Himalayas along with a summit of Island Peak at over 20,000ft. He also enjoys collecting and driving Classic cars.

Can leadership be taught? If so, how?

Not everyone has what it takes. Life and time have proven that. I believe it’s ingrained in our DNA and it emerges when we are called to task. When someone has the raw materials for leadership it’s easier to teach them. When this is combined with a positive attitude it’s a lot easier.

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

Management fulfils the task and leaders pave the way. For leaders to gain respect and experience they should fulfil the management role first. Climb the ladder from the bottom up……. It will be harder for someone to second guess you when you are in a position of leadership.

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?

It will always be a numbers game and the more potential candidates the better. We need more great leaders which will always come through a filtration process. The world we live in is not filtering the process properly and we have some prime examples of poor leaders in powerful positions.

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

Poor communication is one of the ultimate failures of leadership. Also, I think decisions must always be made on what is right for the business and not the individuals within it. You may hurt or offend them from time to time but they’ll get over it or leave. It shows strong leadership and conviction in achieving the core values of the business.

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

Take the word “Balance” and apply it to everything in their life. Balance in our health, balance in our relationships, balance in our diet, balance in how we treat one another and lastly, balance in our bank accounts. I see some really successful business people with no time left for life. We have got to ask that on our last days on this earth can you look over your shoulder and truly say “I got it right.”

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

Further education through whatever means. The school of common sense and self-progression are the best resources. I meet way too many generations Y and Z with heads buried in technology. Look up every now again and learn. Lastly change your role model occasionally, you just might have passed them out!

“When you have achieved your goals in leadership you have gone wrong …….. You should have set more new ones before you got there”