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Paul Hollick's blog: 11 September - Leadership - a modern view of the fleet managers' evolution

Date: 11 September 2015

Paul Hollick is the chairman of the ICFM.

There is a long-term, deep-rooted view in the marketplace that there are fewer and fewer fleet managers around.

The reasons are varied and sometimes more complex than might first appear on the surface. However, by far the biggest reasons are that either the fleet managers' work becomes performed by outsourced partners or their work is being centralised into a specific EU hub.

In both cases this involves a purely financial decision, coupled with a lack of understanding about the importance of an in-sourced fleet manager.
Should this stop the fleet managers out there being viewed as "out-dated" or obsolete? My answer is most definitely not. Therefore, the question needs to be "how can the fleet manager survive?" In my opinion, it is Darwinian - we evolve. This evolution is in the form not of technical skills but of leadership skills.
The best fleet managers that I see, both the ones that win awards and the ones that sometimes don't know how good they are, are highly valued by their employer and especially the finance lead within their company. This isn't just because they possess the skills for the required topic (as fleet management skills should be the base requirement to fulfil the role for all fleet managers!) but they are also great leaders to boot.

Leadership is the higher level skills set some fleet managers demonstrate on top that means real quality.
Attributes of good leadership? There are many books on the topic but they lead themselves, lead and inspire others, they have great emotional awareness, they motivate, develop and coach others within their business and the wider industry. They are also networked and are real role-models - people to be looked up to.
Modern leadership is not about pushing your employees to the maximum but listening and coaching, being transformational in behaviour rather than transactional. A good example is to ask the question - "what do you think?" more times than telling others the way to do things.
Get leadership right and you might have evolved without realising it.