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The battle between the human and leader

With technology advancing at an incredible pace, unprecedented levels of competition and customer demand, businesses are feeling the heat more than ever in the race to stay afloat.

There are winners and losers in the current environment and while we ask ourselves why some don’t make the grade we should, more importantly, look towards those who do battle out their challenges and come out at the other side smiling.

There is no better place to look for one such example than the once troubled airline Qantas, whose CEO Alan Joyce battled one crisis after another since he jumped aboard in 2008.

After turning a $2.8 billion full year loss in 2014 to a $203 million net profit for the first half of 2015, who would turn down an opportunity to ‘pick the brains’ of Mr Joyce?

With a proposed redundancy roll of 5000 amidst the three-year restructure program to secure the airline’s future, there is one question I’m sure many would like to ask if they had an opportunity to meet with Mr Joyce:

What do you think is the difference between a human and a business leader and how do you reconcile the two?

When a business is facing challenges, a leader requires the ability to assemble the data, analyse the issues and act quickly. To do this requires courage. Why? Because courage is what it takes to overcome your human fears of making a mistake and upsetting others.

While Mr Joyce’s $2 billion restructure program was heavily criticised for its ruthlessness, there should be no question that the decision involving 5000 job losses must have been tough with risks aplenty. To think otherwise would be unrealistic. With many other businesses having an interest in Qantas’ fate, the pressure was on.

How Mr Joyce, as a human, found the strength of leadership to take the controversial actions that brought the airline back to profit this year is a question many of us could discuss at length with the man himself.