After cutting her teeth in the transport and logistics industry, Rebecca Salt joined international infrastructure company Balfour Beatty as Group Communications Director in 2012. In her current role, she handles global communications and PR for the FTSE 250 Company.
Having previously worked for CEVA, Exel and DHL, Rebecca has developed into a strong business leader with extensive management experience and solid communication skills.
HOW HAS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE CHANGED THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?
I’m clearer on my direction, I have more conviction in myself and I clearly state the business values that I adhere to. I’ve also learned that it’s OK to fail, because no one learns from success.
HOW HAS WORKING IN MARKETING AND PR SHAPED THE WAY YOU LEAD A TEAM?
My main discipline is communications and I am fascinated with the non-verbal element of how we interact with one another. I’ve studied it, which comes in really handy when managing a team because I know from someone’s body language when they’re uncomfortable – I can then have a quiet word with them and find out what’s wrong.
DO YOU THINK WOMEN ARE MORE ADEPT AT SPOTTING TEAM MEMBERS’ CONCERNS?
Having that intuition is not inherently a female trait. But what I would say is I follow my gut instinct and always rely on it when making any kind of decision. I also consider my own feelings and analyse why I’m feeling the way I do about something to get a better understanding of what’s going through other people’s minds.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it my biggest leadership challenge to date, but joining Balfour Beatty following a 15-year career in logistics wasn’t easy. As a senior female role model, I was coming into a largely male-dominated industry and taking on a global role with huge responsibilities. I’ve had to establish relationships across all levels in a global business, but I’m fortunate because I’ve joined a company that is willing to embrace change. Whenever I express an interest in something, doors open and I have had the opportunity to make a contribution.
WHAT SKILL, ABOVE ANY OTHER, IS VITALLY IMPORTANT WHEN LEADING A TEAM?
There isn’t one particular thing, but clarity of vision, clear standards and deliverables are critical. Offering support and guidance to team members and making yourself available for a chat over a cup of tea are also important. When leading a team, you must have respect for the people you work with, trust in your own judgement and have a good sense of humour.