Leadership and Development

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend the Starlight Foundation CEO breakfast where Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti was the guest speaker.

It’s not often that I find a guest speaker so captivating that I take notes, but there were three things he said that really resonated with my belief system and I liked the way he articulated them so I wanted to make sure I remembered what he said.

One of these statements were… take your people to a better place

What does this mean?

Many of us spend years just climbing to get to the top dog position because with that top dog position means more money, esteem and is looked upon as a sense of achievement. But all of these motivators to get to such leadership position are nothing more than….well….selfish and in turn will only provide us with short terms satisfaction and gain.

I will talk about this in more detail in future blog posts on the topic on what it takes to be a good manager but today let’s look at this statement of taking your people to a better place.

There is this saying that people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses… particularly if they are shitty ones. I couldn’t agree more. So why is it so important to nuture your team and take them to a better place?

Put simply, if you don’t take your staff on your journey and sometimes this means your journey might go a little slower to enable you to stop, rest and recalibrate (translation – train your team), then the wheels will fall off and you will never make it anyway – because the parts to get to the end goal will fall off (i.e. staff will leave).

I am a big believer in hiring based on attitude, intelligence and empathy. Skill can be learnt. I am also a big believer that when comes the time where you can’t develop them any further and if the organisation can’t support their growth, clip their wings and help them fly away. Why? Because good birds will always come back to your nest when the time is right.

And while they are in your care, nurture them, inspire them, and above all teach them and let them teach you. Be as transparent as you can be, don’t lie (we are all big enough and ugly enough to handle it), and help them when the elephant gets too big for them to eat (more on the elephant later), help them eat it. In other words, give them the space to put their hand up and say – ‘hey, I need help’.

Most importantly, let your people see that you are human. It’s ok for them to see you blow your stack occasionally, say that you don’t know the answer

immediately but work with them to solve the problem, happy dance and celebrate successes (I have mastered the moon walk and many other dance moves for the office and sadly they all look the same). But above all ask for help from them on how you can be a better leader (one on one meetings should always be two way even if you don’t like what you hear – trust me I have had to swallow some bitter pills over my time in leadership and I deserved all of them but I learnt from them).

So, who is ready to take their team to a better place?