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7 Questions on Leadership with Dallas McIntyre

Name: Dallas McIntyre

Title: President

Organisation: McIntyre Crane & Rigging Ltd.

Location: Canada

As a co-founder of a previous crane company for 5.5 years, and sole founder of McIntyre Crane & Rigging, I have spent the better part of my career building a network of fantastic people and vendors and developing the companies in all departments.

I have been a rigger, crane operator, dispatcher, operations manager, salesman and the catalyst for for the safety programs as well as trained others for these positions.

Since June 2010, I have been working on the business development of McIntyre Crane & Rigging. My focus has been on the efficiency of delivering our service to the client as well as bringing our equipment maintenance, health, safety and environmental policies and practices to a leading status.

My goal for McIntyre is to continue to build a client list of leaders in their industry and lead our staff to operate at their full potential. To accomplish this goal, I am committed to operate with a clear set of values to build a great culture.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Dallas' answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

I think the most challenging part of leadership is really defining great leadership and understanding what attributes a great leader has and who I need to be to get there. I am always striving to be the kind of leader I would like to work with and be the type of leader that our staff requires.

For example, there are times that call for strength and a no-nonsense, no-emotion approach and times when patience and kindness are required for the best outcome, even when it may not be deserved and a great leader has those tools and knows when to use them. If I may add another challenge, as I started this company from scratch, I controlled all things, all the time.

One day I realized that I was having more "bad days" than good and was not looking forward to coming in anymore. This was not me, I usually loved what I did, I was burning out!

So I started to shift focus. I started to focus my effort on the people in the company managing the day-to-day. I started surrounding myself with great people allowing them control and simply offering guidance. Sometimes it is hard to not say anything or I have to wait and rephrase my sentences to avoid micro-managing.

To summarize, the most challenging part about leadership I found, was finding the humility to reinvent myself to become the kind of leader that I could respect.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I have always been the kind of person to do my own thing, forge my own path, and have some hustle in my step. So with that, I was always moving "up the ladder" quickly with anywhere I worked. Becoming self-employed is a natural progression for most people with that kind of drive.

It would be fair to say that there were many years when I was not a very good leader. My default personality was "Get it done" and most people do not appreciate that over the long term, and that is fair. I would say I am a Student of Leadership, or Leadership is a practice more than a designation. There is no one story, so much as a lifetime of lessons.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Well, one might expect me to tell you I have a strict routine of 4am workouts however, this is not the case, though I have gone through phases of 0530 Crossfit. As one would expect, my role has changed a lot over the years as I moved from the field to the office and it certainly changes depending on what is happening in the company.

I have 3 kids and enjoy watching them all get going in that morning chaos of getting ready for school, so I take that in every day that allows it. I will head into the office and work through emails and quote requests, staff meetings and sometimes head out to the field for site visits or to run a crane.

At the end of day, I enjoy taking the kids to hockey and ringette in the evenings and weekends. It is fair to say that my family has changed my routine from a workaholic to something a bit more balanced (if there is such a thing) even if it is a busy life.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

I was recently reminded that when someone departs a company and leaves a void of responsibility, great people step forward to make sure those tasks are taken care of. I am grateful to work with great people who make my job easier.

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?

Endurance, Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

If you want true leadership, look no further than Sir Ernest Shackleton. His men followed him to the end of the earth, literally.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Only One? Not possible, there is so much and it all intertwines so deeply that to offer only one would be a dis-service.

Keep going, never quit. Even if you have nothing left in the tank or roadblocks in front of you, you can always pivot, back up, try a new path, but never give in. The trick is to look for ways to make it work. It's not easy, but it's worth it.

Develop a mental Risk/Reward and use it for everything.

It goes like this,

What could go wrong, how serious is it, how likely is it to happen, what can I do to prevent it or lessen the risk, now how serious and likely is it, and can I survive or live with those consequences?

Include realistic Worse Case Scenarios and the likeliness of it happening, then multiply that by 2, because those worse cases do happen. You see, we are optimistic to a fault and we need to be aware of our own faults and account for them.

Surround yourself with great people and support them, train them, and pay them very well.

Fire people quickly and without remorse.

Some people will ride your coattails and praise you and smile at you while secretly drilling a hole in the boat, just because they can't be the captain. Or many other reasons, who knows, but the second you get a red flag going up, get rid of them. Because if you don't, they will get rid of all your good people, your reputation, and your clients.

Act with integrity, Always do what's right, no matter what.

Always do what you say you are going to do, no matter how seemingly insignificant. People are watching.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

When I was first starting out on my own, I had a few small pieces of equipment attachments, about a small trailer load. A friend of mine, another business owner allowed me to leave the stuff in the corner of his secured yard while I was in between rental properties. I arranged to pick them up on a Wednesday afternoon and was given a gate code.

I had a pile of work come in last minute and I was sidetracked on Wednesday as it was just me to do this work and ended up on this job until Friday afternoon of a long weekend. I went to pick up my stuff from the yard and the code didn't work so I called my guy. He sent his wife to open the gate for me and gave me one hell of a blast for not coming on Wednesday as I said I would.

At the time I didn't see it as a big deal because I should not have been putting anyone out, I didn't require assistance for loading and shouldn't have needed help with the gate. However, I clearly didn't do what I said I was going to do.

I never forgot that blast as it came as a surprise from someone I respected in a related industry.

I have always been very careful to follow through, no matter how small since then.

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