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Sage Advice: CEO Alan McLenaghan on Leadership

By SageGlass

Feb. 1, 2016

We may be known for our electrochromic glass, but we are also known for the quality of our people. Our people make our company, but who are the individuals who shape our employees and leadership?

We recently sat down with SageGlass’ CEO to learn more about his leadership and management style.

Our CEO Alan McLenaghan is a Scotsman who evolved from a scientist with a background in chemistry and physics to a successful executive leader with a talent for turning around manufacturing operations.

Although a number of senior executives cite their parents as key influencers in their careers, Alan’s mother began to shape his leadership style at the early age of eight.

Widowed when Alan was eight-years, poor and out of work, his mother made a commitment to the success of her children regardless of circumstances. Even though she did not have a college education, Alan’s mother overcame the situation, got a job and instilled in her children the importance of a strong education.

From her determination and drive, Alan learned that there was not one management style that fit every situation. His mother combined a number of leadership styles, being autocratic, participative and democratic all at once. Alan also learned from his mother that it is usually better to lead from behind, nudging and nurturing people to achieve their potential rather than forcibly pulling them into shape.

Alan currently uses his mother’s hard work and sacrifices as analogous to leading a company: to his mother, her children’s futures were more important than her own, just as the company outcome is more important than the CEO. This philosophy carries over to Alan’s leadership techniques. He understands the importance of actively listening to his employees and ensuring they feel the presence and attention of company leaders, something Alan refers to as “felt management.”

“Share the credit for successes with the whole team, even with people who don’t deserve it,” Alan said. “Make sure people feel part of something and make sure each individual’s manager knows as well. What’s the point in telling a person alone that they’ve done a great job? Make sure the person who will influence his or her next career step also hears the positive feedback.”