Mass Transit - 8

EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK

What's the secret to quality leadership?
As much as the business environment stresses data-driven decisions among today's
leaders, soft skills are still required when dealing with employees and the community.

T

hink back on your career so far. Chances are you've had some wonderful
bosses, as well as a handful of less than stellar ones. I count myself as lucky to
have far more supervisors who fall into the "good to great" category than any
other. Of their many admirable qualities - empathy, communication, encouraging attitude and gratitude toward their team - the one aspect each shared
was a high level of availability and visibility. I'm not referring to a micromanager or someone who was constantly over a shoulder, but someone who, no matter the
geographic distance, communicated in both direct and indirect ways that they were
involved and open to discussions.

Andy Byford, the former president of New York City Transit (NYCT), was a highly visible
leader. He rode the system, engaged with riders and listened to their complaints and compliments.
He often wore a name tag indicating who he was and even became an urban cultural phenom with
the nickname "Train Daddy"-a moniker he and NYCT decided to roll with rather than fight.
And when news broke that he resigned from his post at a Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Board meeting on Jan. 23, his colleagues offered equal praise regarding his accomplishments that
improved the largest transit system in the U.S., as well as his ability to connect with people up and
down the hierarchy of the organization.
This style of leadership isn't limited to large systems.
Another leader who believes in high visibility is Dinero' Washington who serves as the CEO of
SporTran, which operates in the Shreveport-Bossier community in Northwest Louisiana (story on page
14). Throughout the interview with Washington, he provided
example after example of how community engagement and
Of their many community input was used to enhance and improve the service
admirable qualities‚ SporTran provides.
From what a redesigned network looks like to which new
...the one aspect each
technology will be incorporated, Washington begins the
shared was a high decision-making process with community feedback. When
level of availability SporTran opened three facilities, launched a new bus network
and visibility. and introduced battery-electric buses all on the same day in
November 2017, Washington shares that he stationed himself
in the lobby of SporTran's new intermodal terminal for a week
to interact with riders and hear directly about what was and
wasn't working for them.
This level of visibility can place leaders, especially transit
leaders, in a tough position; not only do they set themselves as
targets for potential criticism and the inevitable rider ire, but the
loss of anonymity can be tough to contend with. The results of
visible leadership, when coupled with other enhancements, pays
dividends in the form of trust and respect within a community.
Our industry, any industry, really, benefits from leaders who
are willing to take both in stride and see all
feedback as an opportunity to improve.

Editorial
Advisory Board
Andrew Johnson
Chief Executive Officer
The Rapid
Gary Thomas
President/
Executive Director
Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Keith Jones, P.E.
General Manager
DC Streetcar
Matthew Tucker
Executive Director
North County
Transit District

Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor
 mwanek@masstransitmag.com  224-324-8532  linkedin.com/in/mischawaneklibman

8|

Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | FEBRUARY 2020


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Mass Transit

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mass Transit

Ad Index
Editor's Notebook: What's the Secret to Quality Leadership?
People & Places
NRC Chairman's Column
SporTran's Bold Vision for Northwest Louisiana Transit
2020 Mobility Outlook
Investing in a Peace of Mind
Combatting Distracted Communities to Boost Rail Safety
Modernizing the Message
Products
Social Hubs
Mass Transit - 1
Mass Transit - 2
Mass Transit - 3
Mass Transit - 4
Mass Transit - 5
Mass Transit - Ad Index
Mass Transit - 7
Mass Transit - Editor's Notebook: What's the Secret to Quality Leadership?
Mass Transit - 9
Mass Transit - People & Places
Mass Transit - 11
Mass Transit - NRC Chairman's Column
Mass Transit - 13
Mass Transit - SporTran's Bold Vision for Northwest Louisiana Transit
Mass Transit - 15
Mass Transit - 16
Mass Transit - 17
Mass Transit - 18
Mass Transit - 19
Mass Transit - 2020 Mobility Outlook
Mass Transit - 21
Mass Transit - 22
Mass Transit - 23
Mass Transit - Investing in a Peace of Mind
Mass Transit - 25
Mass Transit - 26
Mass Transit - 27
Mass Transit - Combatting Distracted Communities to Boost Rail Safety
Mass Transit - 29
Mass Transit - 30
Mass Transit - 31
Mass Transit - Modernizing the Message
Mass Transit - 33
Mass Transit - 34
Mass Transit - 35
Mass Transit - Products
Mass Transit - 37
Mass Transit - Social Hubs
Mass Transit - 39
Mass Transit - 40
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