Six traits of a Great Leader

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  1. 1. If we want to improve equal opportunities in the workplace and drive innovative results, we need leaders who arent afraid to think differently. And who arent afraid to lead differently. The most successful leaders know all too well that their high-demand positions mean nothing if they cant influence others to believe in their mission. So whats the secret to becoming a great leader? And more importantly, how can great leadership drive better workplace opportunities and career advancement for women in the public sector? Ahead of Women in Leadership for Public Sector 2015, we asked Jonty Bush, Community Liaison and Research Officer at Department of Justice & Attorney General, QLD, Chris Lamb, Non-Executive Director at the Diversity Council Australia and Sonia McDonald, CEO of Leadership HQ, about what qualities they think are needed to be a great leader. Here are six strategies to position yourself for leadership roles in the future: 1. Be authentic Understanding their own motivations and being clear in their belief systems, a confident leader is someone who inspire sand motivates, who is effective, credible and consistent. Insincerity is obvious and unacceptable to those you lead, even if they cant quite identify whats not right. Authenticity is central to female leaders with confidence. Sonia McDonald
  2. 2. 2. Dont take anything personally Women who lead confidently know the only person they can control is themselves, and they are not responsible for anyone elses emotions or behaviours. You cannot control what others do, only how you react. A good leader uses their power for good instead of evil. They know their strengths and capabilities, and seek opportunities to make the world around them just a little better. Whether that be by mentoring another woman in their team and helping them achieve their own goals, or fighting for human rights, they are selfless and share their talent with others. Sonia McDonald I always ask myself how do I want to be telling this story in a years time, in five years time? Being able to frame a problem in terms of how youd like the experience to turn out also helps remove some of the intensity from an issue and make value-based choices rather than short-term reactive actions. 3. Have perspective Jonty Bush Perspective is key. When youre in the middle of a tough time were usually so absorbed in that moment it takes great wisdom to take a step back and say where is the opportunity here. What is this moment teaching me? But being able to take that step back and get some distance between yourself and the problem helps us disengage from the emotional reaction to the issue, and helps us make stronger wiser choices about how to respond.
  3. 3. 4. Be resilient Jonty Bush I think we wrongly compartmentalise resilience as the degree to which we can take on difficulties, but I view resilience as the method by which we respond to difficulties (there is a subtle difference). Resilience, like courage, isnt a trait that is either present or isnt, its a skill that can be practiced and strengthened. We dont need to wait until a life- changing event to practice resilience, every day presents us with little modern-day dramas that require us to respond. I also think there is a huge link between resilience and personal authenticity. In 2009 I was the Young Australian of the Year, I was the CEO of a statewide victim support organisation, I had it all - but internally I was struggling. I realised through a lot of personal work that I had fallen out of alignment with what I was doing. That misalignment was affecting how I viewed and approached my work and ultimately how I felt about myself. It was hugely confronting to face the truth, that I couldnt continue in that position anymore, for me that was an act of strength. Listening to my heart and my values instead of the ego that said keep the prestigious job! The resilient choice isnt always the popular choice, thats why it takes strength. But its always the right choice.
  4. 4. 5. Understand what motivates others Chris Lamb Its important to get to know the people who work with you as individuals. Understand what motivates them, what demotivates them, what they want in their career and whats going on in their life. Its not until you really understand a person that you can hope to engage with them. Once you do know a lot about them, you can look for ways to tap into building trust and expand that working relationship. On a broader scale, organisations need to shift away from a focus on diversity segments like gender, culture, ethnicity and age and start focusing on how to create an inclusive environment to foster good leadership. Its about creating an environment where people can be themselves at work which will ultimately make people more productive and engaged. 6. Lead by example Great leaders in every organisation , of any type or size, are great role models. They are transparent, honest and open. Leading by example is an essential trait. Educating teams and individuals about the opportunities they have as leaders to impact others is important. Chris Lamb
  5. 5. Transparency is also a part of this. For me, this involves talking about my role as a father and husband and Im always very transparent when Im taking time off or leaving early to spend time with my family. One of the things we need to change in the workplaces of Australia is giving people permission to do that sort of thing and one of the ways of making the change is having senior leaders role model that behavior. Join Chris Lamb, Jonty Bush and Sonia McDonald at Women in Leadership for the Public Sector 2015, to learn more about how to build resilience, improve performance and thrive as a leader in a constantly changing environment. For more information visit www.womeninpublicsector.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au