The annual Power-FM Boss of the Year competition attracts nominations from a diverse range of workplaces throughout the Shoalhaven and encourages employees to nominate bosses who exemplify good leadership, who are caring, astute, good communicators and in tune with their employee’s needs.
These nominees are originally broken down into a range of categories including Finance, Community, Retail, Hospitality, and Defence and Emergency Services. Judges then choose the overall Boss of the Year, being the leader who makes the biggest impression on their staff.
HMAS Albatross is always well represented in the awards and had three nominees in the Defence and Emergency Services category this year: Lieutenant Commander Colin Cornwell, of the Royal Australian Navy Tactical Electronic Warfare Support Section (RANTEWSS) and a shared nomination for Lieutenant John Huisman and Chief Petty Officer Toni Huisman, the dynamic duo who devote much of their time and energy to supervising the activities of TS Shoalhaven cadets.
This year’s ultimate Boss of the Year was Lieutenant Commander Cornwell, who was nominated by his staff for his ‘compassion, consideration and willingness to go the extra mile.’
Leading Seaman Troy Thompson was one of the RANTEWSS staff members who nominated Lieutenant Commander Cornwell.
His submission read: “Never before have I had a boss who would go so far out of his way to make sure that, not only his personnel, but also their families, were looked after. He does this without compromising the quality of the work we do and has mastered walking the fine line between people and the objective.”
“I was recently diagnosed with cancer and he not only organised all the time off that was required, but worked in conjunction with my rehabilitation to allow my return to work when I recently went into remission.”
“During the time I was in hospital, he coordinated the rest of the team to support my wife with household chores such as gardening and handyman work that I could not undertake.”
“I firmly believe most bosses would have just sent a card. LCDR Cornwell did not do what he did for any kind of thanks in return. He did it because that is who he is. This nomination is my way of just beginning to say “Thank you”.”
Petty Officer Kirsty Richards also nominated Lieutenant Commander Cornwell.
“He thoroughly deserved his win,” she said. “Lieutenant Commander Cornwell has been my Boss since April 2013, and the first thing he said to me when I arrived at RANTEWSS was 'I have a family first policy', which meant he would help with any issues no matter how insignificant, or if it was beyond his ability he would contact the people that could.
“Most people say that they will help, but he goes out of his way to, and this support is not exclusive to the people that work for Lieutenant Commander Cornwell, but extends to anyone at RANTEWSS,” Petty Officer Richards said.
Both Leading Seaman Thompson and Petty Officer Richards attended the award ceremony to cheer on their favourite boss.
“He was adamant that he would not win his category or the overall award, so he was flabbergasted, shocked and amazed when his name was called out,” Petty Officer Richards said.
Lieutenant Commander Cornwell said the nomination was award enough.
“The fact that my staff thought so highly of me to nominate me was the biggest win, and then to be named overall Boss oft the Year was a bonus. But, the first class cruise tickets I received as part of the prize will definitely come in handy as the cruise date coincides with my 30-year wedding anniversary and Valentines Day,” he said.
Lieutenant Commander Cornwell said he has learnt a few valuable lessons from his own bosses in the past.
“Your staff are your most important asset, so look after them and they will make your life easier. Your actions to them and how you handle situations speak louder than words. If you say you will do something for them, make sure it is done or explain why not, and always keep the people informed of the progress,” Lieutenant Commander Cornwell said.
Asked about his own management style, Lieutenant Commander Cornwell said “I care about my staff and always ensure that they and their families are looked after. I have found that this approach means they always perform to their best,” he said.