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Leadership & culture – communication is the glue

A key element of those who I worked for was their ability to communicate and foster the culture of the workforce.

Reflection on a career

Thanks to a university class mate I was invited to share the experiences of my career during a trip to Cairns to attend an International Women’s Day breakfast held at the RSL. It was one of the few times I had spoken about my own career to an audience. Writing the speech I was reminded of the extent of my experiences and I started thinking of those men I had worked for and their different leadership styles. Some were effective others were not.

Communication was key

A key element of those who I worked for was their ability to communicate and foster the culture of the workforce. Those who talk at those around them, lack respect for those below, held information close and consider the affect of decisions on their career before the impact on the workforce were the ones who I learnt from the most. I learnt how negative communication, extensive egos and an unhealthy culture can be significantly detrimental to effectiveness of the workforce and achievement of the organisations goal.

Those leaders who listened and made those around them feel valued, respected and part of the team were the ones that had a motivated workforce, that understood what the common goal was. In these cases, if achieving the common goal meant working late, a change of plans or some other personal disruption and although potential not happy the majority of the workforce was motivated and successfully completed the goal efficiently and safely.

Know your workforce

The crucial part that separated the good from the not-so-good was their willingness to know their workforce and therefore be able to identify positive and negative culture. Those who let their personal ego be the driver or use fear to rule were always unable to see clearly what was happening around them which ultimately encouraged the detrimental culture. An extreme example of leadership influence on culture is the article by Jeremy Andrus “Traeger’s CEO on Cleaning up a Toxic Culture”.

I hope that over the years I have assumed some of those positive traits. I’m sure there were times when my leadership was not at its best. But writing the speech made me think about some challenging experiences and pivotal points that shaped who I am today and who I want my kids to see. It once again reinforced to me the importance of leadership and in many ways effective follower-ship in shaping an organisation’s culture.