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Five quick tips to lead people and culture in your organisation


Leadership and defining an organisation’s culture and ethics from the top down has obviously been a big theme in the media this year, post-Hayne and as part of the ASX Corporate Governance Council’sCorporate Governance Principles and Recommendations.

I am conscious, as a newly appointed CEO, of my personal impact as a leader, and the importance of leadership in instilling cultural values throughout any organisation, whether you’re an HR leader, CFO or CEO.

Be curious

You have to be genuinely curious about the world and about different ways of tackling challenges. You can’t ever get complacent, especially in our modern ‘Industry 4.0’ technology-based world, which is changing faster than we can even build a ‘status quo’ or industry best practice. Keep your brain in the game by looking at other industries and their problems, to see if that can help you look at your challenges in a new way.

Focus your people skills

This seems obvious, but you have to love dealing with people in every way shape and form. Great leaders inspire people by engaging with them as humans, not ‘resources’. You also have to have an affinity for developing others and trusting them to seize opportunities on your behalf. But you also have to be able to challenge them and hold them to account when opportunities are missed.

Have the confidence to act

Being a leader is about making tough decisions. You have to trust yourself to make the right decision and trust your gut. This doesn’t mean reacting ad hoc to problems as they unfold based on ‘hunches’, but being proactive and engaged in the process, well-researched and well-organised, and then making the right decision based upon the best quality data available.

By the same token, remember that circumstances change. Facts change, sentiments change, laws change — and you do need to be flexible in your planning. When you do get it wrong, or you are blindsided, you need to have the resilience to pick yourself back up, and not be paralysed by fear or indecision.

Have a sense of humour

We all want to enjoy ourselves on this planet and work is a part of that. Our people want to be uplifted and inspired, and look to change the world. Sometimes you just have to laugh when things don’t execute as well as planned — but shake it off and get back to it. Humour enables us to learn from our mistakes and celebrate our successes with a guffaw.

Be humble

All of these themes add up to the defining overall attribute of a good leader: authenticity. Be yourself. Be humble. Sometimes I like to be a bit of a dag and walk around the office with my shoes off (but you obviously can’t do that in a formal setting!). I also joke that my aspiration is to make sure I’m always working hard to make myself the dumbest person in the room. I want to be surrounded by experts, harnessing the power of their insights for the greater good. It’s all about finding balance.

I can’t expect to always be the confident, stoic leader figure that knows it all – and neither can you. We’re all still learning. If you admit to yourself when you don’t know all the answers, you often find the hidden talent that does. Hold on to those people, they may well be your leaders of the future.

Develop leadership skills throughout your organisation

Boost leadership skills throughout your organisation. Our new Leaders in Governanceseminars offer you the opportunity to connect with governance professionals and advance your leadership journey. Each seminar includes and networking lunch and they are:

  • led by expert facilitators
  • designed to shape effective leadership
  • tailored for your career stage.

Upcoming seminars:

Melbourne, Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Seminar: The hidden psychology of team decision-making

Speaker: Simon Russell, BA (jur), BCom, GDipApFin&Inv, MApFin, DFP, GCertMgt

Simon is the founder and Director of Behavioural Finance Australia (BFA). At BFA he provides specialist behavioural finance training & consulting to fund managers, major super funds and other financial services professionals.

Sydney, Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Seminar: Challenging conversations to enable divergent thinking

Speaker: Mandy Holloway

Mandy brings a depth of experience facilitating leadership sessions. A former Partner at KPMG and PKF, Mandy has a Bachelor of Commerce, is a Fellow at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and New Zealand and is currently a Syndicate Chair at the CEO Institute of NSW.

Brisbane, Thursday, 4 July 2019

Seminar: Focus on leadership

Speaker: Tom Loncar, Executive Coach

Tom Loncar is an executive coach and mentor. He has worked with senior executives, executive teams and high potentials across many sectors, and expands on his developmental ideas as a regular contributing writer on leadership for the Australian Financial Review and BOSS magazine.

Find out more about more upcoming seminars across the country.

Three tips for building organisational resilience for HR professionals

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