Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Peter Tyler
Title: Non Executive Director/Chair
I have led companies in the fields of Advanced Composites, Technical Plastics, Electronics/Electrical and Mechanical Engineering.
I have a passion for Leadership, Manufacturing and the development of people.
I currently Chair a privately owned Environmental Products and Services business, a PE owned digital kiosks business and a VC/PE backed AI/Composite Tooling Business. I am also acting as a Board Advisor on the Marine sector to a VCT backed, London based, advanced composites company. I have previously held Board roles in the UK, US, Netherlands, UAE, and Slovakia.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The effects of toxic people. Just one toxic person can have a detrimental effect on the organisation and it is crucial to ensure your Leadership Team acts when examples of toxic behaviour become evident before it spirals out of control or you will lose good team members who will leave if they see bad behaviours not being dealt with. Positive Culture is critical to success
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
When I was in Junior School I started to play football and cricket, and I found myself being regularly nominated as Captain by Teachers and Coaches and this ignited the spark of leadership within me.
From that point forwards I always sought out every opportunity to learn, develop and hone my leadership skills. I have had the privilege to learn from many inspiring colleagues and to also see the approaches that do not work.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I always ensure I have some form of breakfast to fuel the mind and then I list my objectives for the day, including what may not have been achieved from the day before.
With the onset of the hybrid world and Zoom and Teams calls, I find it essential to block out 15 minutes between meetings or calls to focus my mind on the subject change from the last call to the next.
At lunchtime I ensure I go for at least a 20 minute walk to re-charge my mind and benefit for the fresh air - it is invigorating.
At the end of the day I check my ‘to do’ list, clear down what has been achieved and re-prioritise what needs to be carried over to the next day.
Before bed, I try reduce my screen time, jot down anything still on my mind and then read a few pages of a non-business book to gently wind down. I do keep a notepad at my bedside so if I wake with things I am trying to remember and scribble them down to clear my mind and fall back to sleep.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I really have two lessons I have recently been reminded of.
Firstly that the role of a Leader is to develop other Leaders – too many Leaders get self-obsessed with title and/or power. My favourite Leadership Principle is from John Quincy Adams…’if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader’.
Secondly, and very recently I was reminded that everyone has a role to play in an organisation and that as a leader you need to be accessible and approachable. I have always sought to treat people how I would want to be treated. I recently left a full time role to undertake a Portfolio career and some of the most genuine words of gratitude came from our shift operators, all of whom I endeavoured to speak to on a daily basis to check how they were and if they had any concerns or questions.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
For me, it has to be the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. When it came out, this book was as inspirational as it was simple in terms of the guidance therein.
Covey broke down the key elements of how to be highly effective into firstly understanding our own paradigms in order to make a ‘paradigm shift’. If we first seek to understand how we see ourselves and how others see us, we can plan the necessary changes in our Leadership approach and journey.
The book then focuses on how you, as an individual, can develop a personal vision and adopt key disciplines in self-management.
Next, the focus moves to how we interact with others, the interpersonal skills needed, the requirements for empathetic communication and the necessity of listening in order to understand.
The final stage is Renewal and specifically self-renewal. Covey used the term ‘Sharpen the Saw’ and for me this really helped to develop a discipline for work/life balance which I have sought to maintain throughout my career.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
That Leadership is a journey not a destination, learn from those around you, absorb the positive examples and reject the negative ones but still learn from them.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
A few years ago, I led the acquisition of a company in the Netherlands.
It was crucial that we delivered a successful integration within quite a tight timescale due to other business demands.
We committed to bi-weekly ‘Town Hall’ style meetings with the entire team and encouraged any questions that related to doubts or worries in the minds of the team we were now working with.
This was my first experience of the directness of the Dutch people and questions were very direct and challenging – at first this felt uncomfortable but I soon came to understand this was the Dutch culture and I quickly began to thrive and enjoy the experience. The lesson was that it is essential to understand other cultures to ensure you successfully lead – this period was for me personally the most rapid develop of my own leadership skills even after more than 15 years as a Leader in business - in essence, you never stop learning.