Paolo Ferri on leadership, coaching, learning | ESA Masterclass


As space missions have become more complex, the teamwork needed on the ground has also become more sophisticated and challenging. Through almost four decades at the forefront of Europe’s voyages in space, Paolo Ferri went from Operations Engineer on the Eureca mission to Operations Manager of the four-spacecraft Cluster mission and then the Rosetta mission, followed by serving as Flight Director on Rosetta, Venus Express and Goce. His career has been capped off by eight years as Head of Mission Operations for the Agency, overseeing all of ESA’s robotic mission operations.

In his third masterclass, Paolo shares what he has learnt going from an engineering expert with complete and specific knowledge of a single mission, to being responsible at a senior manager level for the success of dozens of missions operated by international teams each as diverse, unique and complex as the spacecraft they fly.

With 36 years’ of experience at ESA, Paolo Ferri is responsible for mission operations, and he has played a leading role in ensuring the success of missions like Eureca, ESA’s first-ever reusable satellite; Cluster, one of the longest-flying science missions; Venus Express, Europe’s first exploration of Earth’s ‘evil twin’; and Rosetta, humanity’s first landing on a comet.

In five episodes of ‘Leadership at Mission Control’, Paolo takes us through major events in his career at ESA, covering cornerstone missions, first attempts, overcoming technical challenges, building diverse teams, working under pressure and solving the unexpected problems that are part of any space endeavour.

New episodes from Paolo’s Masterclass will be released each Sunday, stay tuned!

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  1. This lecture is a MUST for all people who manage teams. How well explained! From the importance of delegation, diversity, trust, ability to listen and learn, to the fundamental role that a manager plays on the entire life and career of the people under his/her responsibility. A good people manager, selecting the right people for his/her team, is like the good farmer that spreads seeds on fertile ground. He is not only ensuring a good environment for himself and his team, he is giving his organisation generations of good management.

  2. ESA, Paolo, THANK YOU for this. I started a month ago as a project manager for my student team at my uni, and I've encountered the exact problems Paolo talks about at the start of the video. The first month has been very stressful because I kept a lot of work for myself, and I wasn't able to focus on the managing tasks properly. I learned that I have to trust my team more and assign tasks instead of doing them myself. This series is an eye-opener, so thank you again 🙂

  3. Às vezes as ideias ou perguntas confusas, obtusa …sem pés nem cabeça, podem surgir grandes resultados!! Todos poderem ouvir, perguntar, dar opiniões, intercâmbio de equioes …Para no final chegar a uma conclusão, depois concebida, passar a mesma para o papel e por último dar forna física ao projecto audacioso e histórico!! Este Sr. têm uma forna simples de comunicar!!

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