Alumni Profile: Alan Quinton (EBLP '09)

7 March 2011 By Leadership

Alan Quinton
Alan Quinton

Alan Quinton is Assistant Chief Officer, Emergency Management for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. Alan completed EBLP in 2009 and is the subject of this months Alumni Profile.

What makes a good leader?  
A key attribute of any good leader is to have a strong sense of who they are. It is difficult to lead others if you do not have an awareness of yourself, your followers will not be aware of who is trying to lead them.
An understanding of how they will react in certain situations, their strengths and weaknesses, and a clear sense of their key drivers is important, along with an awareness of their morals – what is clearly right and what is wrong.

Leadership is usually attributed to COs and people in government, can you tell us about an ‘every day’ leader whom you admire? 
Leanne Atkinson (my wife) suffered a significant injury a number of years ago and despite this setback has tried to live a “normal” life as a mother, wife and teacher.  Under great duress Leanne has understood her limitations and despite negative perceptions from others regarding her disability she has soldiered on.  She has provided strong leadership in her parenting role and is an inspiration to our daughters.  She has started her own business and has created a functional home environment.
What do you like about your job?   
There are a number of things that I love about my job, the first being the staff.  There are not many organisations that are full of people that are committed to helping others and making the world better when things are not going well. I get the opportunity to provide direction and leadership for these committed people.  I also get to see our people being successful and meeting the daunting challenges that are thrown their way.  I’ve had the opportunity to have a number of different careers within the one organisation; trainer, fire safety officer,  manager of dangerous goods, project officer, executive manager of a region, training and development and so on.
What do you love?
I love my wife and daughters and my broader family.
I love it when I hit a perfect drive and can beat my handicap at golf.
I also love it when North Melbourne wins the premiership.

What attracted you to Leadership Victoria and what did you gain from your experience?
I have done a number of leadership programs over my career and the attraction of Leadership Victoria was the opportunity to give back to the community along with the ongoing commitment to supporting community groups.
I gained an awareness of the many committed people who are striving to help a component of the community to be more successful. As these organisations become successful themselves, they grow and need governance and support structures around them to ensure ongoing viability.  LV is a great support to these organisations, by providing developed leaders to assist in these roles.

How has your leadership style evolved? What lessons have you learnt? 
My leadership style has evolved from being a leader of the front and making all the decisions, to a style of supporting the leaders who work for me and ensuring that they are able to make the best decisions and provide the clear direction to their staff.  Thus I have moved from the front to the back in my leadership style. 
I have learnt that there is a wealth of talent out there, if only they are given the opportunity to shine and take responsibility for their successes and occasional failures.  On these rare occasions of failure it is important to learn from these experiences and develop our leadership skills further.