When Victor Perton asked to interview me on Australian Leadership for the Australian Leadership project, I thought I would easily be able to speak about leadership in 2018. Instead I went on a reflective journey, thinking about the leaders who have impacted me most. What surprised me was how many of these were part of my life in my 30s and 40s but left a lasting legacy that has shaped my professional development and career ever since.
Victor asked me 3 questions:
What are the unique qualities of Australian Leadership and Leaders?
What do Australian leaders want from their leaders?
Who have been the leaders in your life journey ? What or who has inspired you?
To read my reflections and answers, continue reading.
If Your People are Your Greatest Asset as I wrote in a recent blog post, what do you as a leader need to be doing to look after that greatest asset. You need to convince them of that by your actions, not merely mouth the words. You need to inspire their intrinsic motivation. You need to Engage, Empower and Elevate your people. When you look after your people, they will look after your organisation. Here are 15 ways you can do that.Read More
How often have you heard that? It rolls off people’s tongues like jelly and it often has no more substance. Cliches tend to become like that. Yet these are powerfully true words. Your people are your greatest asset, but unless they are treated that way, they will react and become your greatest liability.
People join an organisation because they admire and respect what it says it stands for. They leave because the leaders who manage them don’t walk the talk. They also they don’t feel valued, appreciated or acknowledged for the contribution they are making. They disengage long before they leave.
Peter Wilson, the President of the Australian Human Resource Institute, has said that only 24% of employees in Australia are engaged, 60% are neutral – just there but not engaged – 16% are turned off. This results in a $42 billion cost in lost productivity in Australian organisations. Why is this happening?Read More
I recently re-visited Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In : Women, Work and the Will To Lead”. I had 3 women approach me for mentoring in the one week. I remembered she has some excellent advice on Mentoring. While this is normal part of my work, it is always helpful to step back now and again and reflect on what I am doing as a mentor and why I am doing it.
There was one part of her Chapter 5 on “Are You My Mentor?” that really got me thinking about my initial conversations with these 3 new mentees. She believes that many women coming for mentoring want a dependency relationship with their mentor which she says is not at all helpful for women. So what she said provoked me to think about how I wanted to engage with my 3 new mentees so that the relationship was an empowering one for them. I share my 7 insights here with my readers.Read More
Mike sent me an email that went like this:
I employed a 22 year old new graduate for a position in my organisation. She presented well at interview and I was very impressed with her attitude. I wanted someone with more experience but here (in the regional centre where he is based) it is very difficult to get people with the experience I want. So as everybody says: “Hire for attitude and train for skills”, I hired her.
Her 3 month probation period is almost due and I can’t see how I can keep her on. I fear I have to dismiss her. I’m quite anxious about it and the impact it will have on her. I feel responsible because I hired her knowing that she didn’t have the skills I wanted. I thought that with her enthusiasm and my support she would develop them. Now I realise that the job is way above her and it’s not just about developing skills, but having experience.
What did Mike do that was a win/win outcome?
With everything changing so rapidly and with so much new information, ideas and opinions being available on a daily basis, there’s not a lot I want to read twice. There’s even less that I want to watch more than once. But Simon Sinek’s original TED talk from 2009 on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is a video I have watched at least twice a year ever since. In fact in the first few years after he presented, I would have watched it three to four times each year.
It was his book Start With Why that captured people’s imagination and saw us all begin to see the importance of knowing what our WHY was. He called on leaders who wanted to become great to find your Why because that was what would inspire their action.
I now notice that 34,288,830 people have watched it on video. Yes, more than 34 million! Pretty incredible isn’t it? He had a message that has stood the test of time. You can watch his 18 minute video here.
Is there a very attractively framed Vision, Mission and Values Statement on the wall in the foyer of your organisation? Does it tell everyone who enters through the door what your organisation is about, what its “Why” is. Are they just words on a wall, or are they lived out every day in your organisation? In other words, are the words on the wall walked in the halls of your organisation?
While this article is written for organisations and those who lead them, it is equally relevant to you even if you are not in a leadership role. Every one of us who wants to make a difference in our work and life and be successful in the process needs a personal vision, mission and values statement.
Every decision in your organisation needs to be lined up against your vision, mission and values to see if it fits before it is finally agreed on. An organisation loses credibility in the eyes of employees first, then other stakeholders and then the community, when it consistently compromises on its espoused vision, mission and values, when the words on the wall are not walked in the hall.
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, once said: “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” It would seem a very obvious statement, wouldn’t it? Yet, it is not at all easy to achieve. But, these are the crucial skills that every organisation is looking for in its employees – that ability to get along with people.
Every day in our workplaces our relationships are challenged by people who see things differently to the way we see them. They come from such diverse backgrounds, different from us in gender, age, sexual orientation, race, language, education and physical ability. They have been socialised in very different ways. They have different values. What’s important to them may not be important to us at all. The outcome of all this is that every personal and professional resource we have is stretched as we endeavour to build meaningful and constructive relationships with these people.
And let’s not forget outside of work – our partners, children, family, relatives, next door neighbours and the members of the clubs and associations we belong to. That’s another challenge!
In these times we also have significant breakdowns in global relationships as countries, religious groups and disaffected people everywhere push their own agendas and fight for their voices to be heard. Every day, we see on our televisions, the struggle of people and nations to get along with other people.
So how do we do it?Read More
When I finished, many moons ago, what was then called matriculation, I went on to train as a primary school teacher. We were trained back then using an apprenticeship model. We had lectures and tutorials for half the day and we spent the other half day in a school. In our second and final year we had a long term placement in a school for some weeks at a time. It was very practical and experientially based and many professionals were trained that way at that time.
Many lamented the loss of that model when professional training was moved into a strongly academic model in universities with much more limited access to practical work.
There is, however, a strong belief by many that learning on the job is the best way to learn and there are indications that some organisations are making commitments to do just that.
This week I read of an interesting initiative by leading global recruitment group, Adecco, who had just selected 22 year old Roy Hanna to be their 2017 Australian Apprentice CEO for One Month.
How often have you waited for the time to be right and in retrospect missed out on a great opportunity?
How many years have you actually been waiting for the time to be right to do what you really want to do, knowing it will change your life, that action changes things?
As Napoleon Hill has said: Don’t wait! The time will never be right.
You want to go back to do your MBA but you wonder if you should wait until the children are older.
You’re a professional woman who wants to start a family and you wonder if you should do it now you are 29 years old or wait another 6 or 7 years until your career is more established.
You want to leave corporate life and start your own business but you wonder whether the economy will support you at this time.
You’ve been heading your department now for 12 months and believe you need to restructure if you are going to achieve the goals you have set, but you are concerned whether this is the right time
You want to talk with your CEO about your future in the organisation and what she can offer you for your career development. You’ve been delaying doing it for 6 months now, waiting for the right time.
You’ve been thinking and pondering for some time now, but you keep your foot on the brake.
How do you decide the right time?