Name: Emmanuel Aublet
Title: Managing Director
Organisation: Just Eat France
With over 25 years of experience in B2C markets, I am passionate about driving digital transformation and growth for retail, F&B, and service businesses. As the Managing Director France at Just Eat Takeaway.com, I am responsible for leading the operations and strategy of one of the largest online food delivery platform in the country, serving millions of customers and thousands of restaurants.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Emmanuel's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Overcoming my frustration at people not understanding a strategy that is clear to me.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
After graduating from business school, I had to do my compulsory military service; I joined the French Navy Officer training course, graduated and was appointed to a warship based in Toulon, South of France.
Part of my job was, when coming into port, to command the stern (rear) team in charge of tying the ship to the dock. I had no specific training and my first time turned into mayhem, the whole crew waiting at docking station for 45 minutes while we struggled.
Quite mad with myself, I promptly walked up to the (very) Senior Petty Officer in charge of the bow (front) team, acknowledged that we had screwed up and asked for help organising the team. He gave me all the advice I needed. The following call to docking station, I “commanded” my enlisted team to follow my instructions… And we were the fastest team ever after!
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Breakfast with the family, a 20 minute bicycle ride to work where I usually arrive around 8am.
An hour of quiet time and concentration then a walk in the office, coffee in hand, with one purpose: saying hello to the team and being seen. Then I enter a tunnel of meetings, in person or by video until 6pm (no more meetings after 6pm) when I have an extra hour of deep dive.
Bicycle back home for the family dinner close to 8pm, reading and in bed by 11pm.
On Tuesdays: drinks out with my wife in our local bistrot!
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I tend to take ownership of what happens in my teams quite quickly and risk turning into a "helicopter boss".
It is good sometimes to let people in the team struggle, provided that you have created a safe environment to fail...
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?
The Leadership Mystique by Professor Manfred Kets De Vries
I had the chance to collaborate with Manfred as an INSEAD student and was struck at how important our internal flaws impact the organisation that we lead ... and how often we disregard them!
My leadership team has known, from our first meeting on, that they should call me out when I say something stupid/irrelevant; part of their role is to keep me in check!
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Overthinking prevents from doing and, in the most cases a leader is confronted to, brings no solution.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
As a young leader, I was in charge of the turn-around of a 10 million € store; after a few days, I got angry at my warehouse people not wearing proper uniforms and safety shoes.
My logistics director took me aside and told me that budgets didn’t allow for more than 2 shirts per employee…
I couldn’t believe my ears and decided that a specific budget would be allocated and that, within that budget and the company approved vendor, employees would be allowed to choose their own equipment.
As a result, finally feeling respected, my team accepted the incredible hard changes I asked from them, improved to company best in class; they had 100% compliance uniforms, proud to the point that some were seen partying at night in their fancy safety shoes!