Meet the TechLeader – Craig Columbus

Janine Casas
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TechLeaders

NAME: Craig Columbus

What drives you to make a difference?
I love a challenge and enjoy helping others reach their full potential. Ultimately, I want know I’ve played a part in helping make the world a better place. Technology now touches all of our lives on a daily basis, but we must leverage it to strengthen our communities. Our efforts to build a technically capable society will pay dividends for generations and ensure a bright future for New Zealand.

What set you on the path to becoming a leader?
When I began work, I was insatiably curious, I always asked questions and often volunteered for extra work. The more I learned, the more useful I became to my employer and the more responsibility I was given. I never set out to be a leader, but before I knew it, I was working in a technical leadership role at a global company. My leadership is now transformational, having evolved from earlier days when I had an authoritative style. My greatest satisfaction comes from mentoring others and witnessing them accomplish more than they thought possible.

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?
Lessons at the top of my list include:

  • be kind and respectful, but firm when required
  • always look for win/win outcomes
  • listen attentively
  • never make assumptions or jump to conclusions
  • don’t take the easier path over the right path
  • take the time to logically assess complex situations

How do you motivate your team?
Teams need to believe in what they are doing and have a guiding purpose. Leaders need to clear roadblocks, empower and support their teams to achieve. There is no monopoly on good ideas, so encourage everyone, regardless of position or experience, to speak freely, share their thoughts and propose unconventional solutions. Open communication and an open mind is also the key to creative problem solving.

What inspires you?
The achievements of others serves as a reminder to work hard, appreciate life and never give up.
I’m inspired by those who overcome adversity and succeed against the odds, make personal sacrifices to create a better world, stand up against injustice and inventors who contribute to a brighter future.

Favourite productivity tip?
Be present – focus intensely on a task and avoid distraction.