February 20, 2018

Why leaders don’t need listening skills

The best leaders are great communicators. They connect with people and have meaningful conversations. They hear what others have to say and respond to their ideas and concerns. They think carefully about their own messages and reach out to the communities that matter to them. It is the same for all leaders, regardless of their industry or seniority level. No leader can scrape by, let alone be the best they can be if they fail to communicate. The engines of industry are driven by people and communication is the oil that lubricates them. Poor communication is a leading cause of […]
February 20, 2018

What aspiring leaders can learn from popular heroes

Life would indeed be dull without people rousing us to lift our game, try harder or aspire to bigger things. We are surrounded by people who do just that. Many are popular heroes like Adam Goodes and Rosie Batty who were each named Australian of the Year in recent times. Adam is a credible spokesperson for social reform in the areas of Aboriginal rights and racism. Rosie’s personal tragedy propelled her into the limelight and she is now a high-profile and influential campaigner for an end to family violence. Popular heroes like these reveal the power of a compelling vision […]
February 20, 2018

Leadership is the key to better health care

The editor of Australian Ageing Agenda asked me to suggest a solution to a perplexing problem in residential aged care – how to encourage staff to speak up about incidents of mistreatment or poor care of vulnerable residents. I teamed up with Emma Read and we wrote this article: Leadership is the Key. It appears in the May/June 2015 edition of the magazine. The reader is invited to imagine a scene where the Chair of the Board of an aged care facility makes this statement to a meeting of directors: ‘From this day forward, each of us will be deemed to take personal responsibility for the quality […]
February 20, 2018

Our best leaders start life as ordinary people

Can you name half a dozen people you admire as leaders but feel you could never be like them? You look at those people and see nothing but confidence, clear sightedness and a range of other impressive qualities. You assume they have always been like this and make quick comparisons with yourself. All you see is a yawning gap, one that you could never cross. If this describes you then you are not alone. We commonly believe that leadership is natural to some people, that they have what it takes while others do not. This view is hardly surprising. We […]
February 20, 2018

The demise of annual performance rankings

First published on LinkedIn, 29 July 2015 Top marks Accenture for getting rid of annual performance rankings. Accenture CEO Pierre Namterme recently announced that the annual charade where managers force-ranked performance of employees, around a fixed distribution curve, was a thing of the past. Accenture joins a growing band of Fortune 500 companies that are reviewing their performance appraisal systems. They follow Microsoft, Deloitte, Adobe and Gap. What these companies discovered is the ranking system did not drive better performance. All it brought was countless hours of frustrating paperwork, awkward conversations and employees who felt devalued and disengaged. Why would […]