Lessons in Leadership with Allan Joyce


Balmoral Tanks has become the first manufacturing company in the world to receive the BSI Kitemark Certification for Customer Service and Complaints Management.

Allan Joyce, Managing Director of Balmoral Tanks, shares his valuable insight into the qualities that make a leader effective.

What values are more important to you as a leader? 

“My personal values are very much aligned with the core values we use at Balmoral. From a personal perspective, integrity is key. If you give anyone reason to question your integrity as a leader, then you have lost your legitimacy to run your business. Respect is another one I would say is important as a leader. In simple terms, if you want respect, then you should first show respect.”

Who is a leader that you admire and why?

“I don’t regard myself as politically biased, but I do believe at the heart of any great leader is selflessness and for me Nelson Mandela epitomizes this trait. A phenomenal example of transformational and influential leadership. A quote “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people”. In business terms, leadership is about putting the needs of your team ahead of your own.”

In your view what is the most important skill for a leader to have?

“One of the most important skills a leader should have is self-awareness. Reflection is a tremendous form of self-development, and being aware of your behaviours, emotions, and being consistent with your values goes a long way to help your team understand who you are. You can’t fake this stuff; people will know when you are not being authentic. Always strive to be a better version of yourself, rather than a poor version of someone else.”

What one personal experience have you had that made you a better leader?

“I believe you learn a lot about yourself during a time of crisis. Some years ago, we had a major product recall, which called for a strategic approach to the issue, while at the same time maintaining the core business. Resilience is the obvious word here, although it is more than that. Your role as the leader is to maintain the morale of the team and give them belief that the future is positive, and their careers are secure. Managing myself, the crisis, the team, and the core business taught me a lot about myself and that I had the strength in character to effectively fulfil a leadership role.”

What motivates you to be a leader?

“Moving a business positively forward, because of collaboration with people who are aligned behind a purpose. Talent management is one of the areas I am most passionate about, and there is a real sense of satisfaction in watching people grow and develop in line with business growth. If you wish to have a business with a sustainable competitive advantage, you must put people first.”

What characterises a good leader in your view?

“An ability to make complicated things simple, which ultimately provides a basis to get things done. Getting things done and producing the results is the ultimate measure in a leadership role. When all is said and done, let’s make sure more gets done than is said.”

What is the most difficult aspect of being a leader?

“Bridging the gap between employee satisfaction and employee engagement. Employee satisfaction is relatively straightforward and is more about rewards, terms, and conditions. Employee engagement is where the “magic” happens, and the potential of your team is truly unleashed. Engagement of staff is not a project, it’s part of your culture/DNA. It’s not easy to bridge the gap, but then again if it was easy, everyone would do it and the value of it would be diminished.”