Innovative leaders vital for business success


Invest Northern Ireland is encouraging business people to embrace the importance of effective and innovative leadership as they focus on growing business success.

Speaking at Invest NI’s Leadership Experience event which was attended by over 200 local business people, Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Executive Director, Business Solutions, said: “Research clearly indicates that good management and leadership skills have a direct impact on business productivity. Invest NI is committed to raising awareness of the key role that leaders play and of the need to develop our local business leaders to achieve economic growth.”

The Leadership Experience event signposted people to the support that is available to help them improve their leadership skills while international and local leaders shared their experiences and insights. Keynote speaker Hal Gregersen, Professor of Leadership at INSEAD, one of the most innovative and influential business schools in the world, spoke about the need for business managers to develop their leadership skills alongside their professional skills.  

Local businessman Patrick Hurst, Managing Director of Whale Pumps, a fast growing Bangor company that manufactures pump and plumbing systems, outlined the challenges he faced in developing his company and how he succeeded. He emphasised how important it had been to assess his own strengths and weaknesses as a leader and how making changes, such as engaging more with his staff, had helped the company to perform better.

Judith Gillespie, Deputy Chief Constable, PSNI, gave an insight into leadership issues in the challenging environment of policing.

New online diagnostic tools, developed by Invest NI in partnership with the Department for Employment and Learning, and launched earlier this week, were also presented at the event.

Tracy Meharg added: “Invest NI and the Department of Employment and learning have a range of support available to help people develop leadership and management capability.

“I would encourage business people to begin by exploring our new online diagnostic tools which will help them pinpoint areas that need to be improved and access assistance to do that.”

The new diagnostic and self help online tools are available for free through Invest NI’s website. The Business Diagnostic tool helps business owners and managers assess how good their business practices are, while the Leadership and Management Skills Assessment tool helps individuals assess their strengths in these areas.