The look of leadership

I used to take time out from my day job once a year, suit off, and drive a truck delivering telephone books for a week. It was refreshing, great exercise, and I got to know parts of the city, especially Parnell, very well. It was slightly jolting at first to realise that your attire (and the job that went with it), had a big impact on how people treated you. “Put them over there”. Fine, and good morning to you too.

iStock-912664056.jpgFive or six years ago colleagues would check in as to whether to wear a tie. Casual Friday was once a month. It soon moved to once a week and then it was “dress for the day”.

Today you’ll see male and female colleagues in smart jeans, shirt in, shirt out, smart suits, open shirts, hoodies, and the occasional tie.

So what is the look of leadership? Is there a look of leadership? What should a leader look like?

Are there really clothing expectations of a professional leadership position? There’s some places you don’t have much choice for formal clothes – a court lawyer, or member of parliament – but almost everything else there’s a lot of flexibility. If you take it.

I do. Some days a suit, others jeans, the occasional hoodie. I’m not sure it makes much difference. Maybe I should try being a delivery person for a day and see if the world has changed!

Stephen

I see it’s New Zealand Fashion Week later this month.

It’s Captain Haddock’s!

My team decided last week that we needed some time together to have some fun,  Something away from work that we could all enjoy.  A pub quiz.

I was a little late getting there and the quiz was in full throttle. I had declared that as long as the answer was “Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart” then I could help the team get a least one answer that others might not. After all it was July.

As it turned out there were some Seinfeld (NOT Senfield for goodness sakes!) related answers that I could help out on.

We know that trust is built by being vulnerable. But it’s also built through shared connections – doing something together – not that complicated.

So when I left a bit later after the Quiz had finished and we’d scooped up second prize it was a real gift to turn around and see the whole table, smiling, waving and enjoying each other’s company. I felt pretty lucky.

iStock-979592168.jpgOh, yes, and who’s butler is this was the question.  As an aside the butler Nestor in Tintin was the butler for the Bird Brothers before he was Captain Haddock’s. Blistering Barnacles!

Stephen

ps Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart  were French Secret Service Agents convicted of the manslaughter of Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira during the bombing of the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior 33 years ago this month in Auckland.

Adult supervision

We don’t usually hear leadership referred to as adult supervision.

But the level of leadership some in leadership positions have reduced themselves to requires others to exert supervision. Like an adult does for a child.

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I guess we should be grateful that in the most powerful democracy we have some adults!

Stephen

High up leadership

I’m writing this high up, on a Dreamliner to be precise, heading away for a few days. It’s been a frenetic week and getting away was a challenge but a flight departure time is compelling, even for those who like me, enjoy being pressure prompted.

This morning we ran a PwC Fraud Academy event where I interviewed a whistleblower to help our clients understand what they might need to do to encourage a “speak up” culture and protect the whistleblower.

This work sits at the nexus of my forensic and leadership work and I’ve blogged about it in also on LinkedIn.

In my dealings with high-up leaders they’ll usually say that they are approachable and open to feedback and concerns from anyone. And the people around them will often agree.

But what we heard from our whistleblower today was stark. “Why would those higher ups listen to me? What do I know?” she asked.

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What our whistleblower had to say went right to the heart of the trust, integrity and culture of her organisation. Her organisation was and is a great place. Open, trusting with good systems and processes.

But nonetheless she felt disempowered.

Someone asked me at a “laser coaching” session recently how they might improve their social awareness. I said that leadership is most often seen in those micro-moments: on the spot feedback, time to say thanks, a meeting with mechanisms for everyone to be heard, and constant engagement and communication. It seems to me that it’s these leadership behaviours that are also needed to develop the trust for a “speak up” culture too.

If it all sounds like it’s quite a lot to pay attention to, well, actually, it is.

High up leadership sounds grand, the rewards can be significant, but to be effective for your organisation you need to be always on, everywhere you go.

Stephen

Our PwC Leadership Development page went live today thanks to the work of Sarah Guerin in my team.

 

The night before

It has a night before Christmas feeling tonight with the Authentic Leadership Programme commencing proper in the morning. All the pre-work has been done by us and the new participant leaders and the room is all set up.

We’ve done this a few times of course so we know more or less what to expect. But it won’t be the same as ever before. Refinements have been made and we’re trying out some new things and new locations too.

But more significantly, each of the 20 leaders on the Programme will bring with them their own leadership opportunities, challenges, personalities, hopes and aspirations.

Like you experience when leading people.iStock-644997626.jpgSo in the morning there’s some time spent getting to know each other in a meaningful way, developing ways of working together over the next six months, exploring our personality profiles, reviewing 360 feedback, and sharing stories. It will be a very full first day with some time to reflect too.

One thing we’ll say tomorrow but we’ll say again several times is that everything we do on the Programme is transferable back at work. You won’t notice that unless you’re mindful. Which reminds me, being present will be vital!

Stephen

Relationship advice from Wayne

Wayne reckons there’s a lot of divorce now. I quipped that not getting married is the best defence to that. Chuckling lightly he went on:

People shouldn’t try and control each other. You do what you want and let other people do what they want.  “I told my wife when we got married that I’m not responsible for her happiness. That’s her responsibility” he said adding that he was responsible for his own happiness too.

If you’re all wound up, don’t take up your issues with me then, and when you’re all wound up “I know you’re not thinking straight and what is said at that time won’t be right“, so take a stroll and have a coffee, then you’ll be right.

iStock-885844632.jpgAnd when you do open your mouth never ever put anyone down. Ever. Think about what you need to say, adjust your tone, make it right for the discussion, and be careful about what you say.

It’s quite simple really, he said, “I’ve helped lots of people with relationship problems and some people have said I should do some courses in relationship counselling“. But I won’t he said, I know what it takes.

Cost me $16.84 for those pearls of wisdom. And he got me home in his Uber too!

Stephen

Trust in Speedy EQ

My colleague Jasbindar Singh ran a two-hour session on Emotional Intelligence for us recently. Emotional Intelligence underpins most of the work we do on Authentic Leadership and I think it’s important to slow burn the learning to ensure the learning and reflection is well embedded and plans put into action.

Jas showed us that you can do a lot in two hours and get us thinking. There are many models of EQ and we used the Genos model covering  Self Awareness, Social Awareness (of others), Authenticity, Emotional Reasoning, Self Management and Motivation (or inspiring performance).

When you talk EQ to senior people almost everyone “gets” it. Doing it takes practice, discipline and reflection on recent conduct.

Leaders who practice emotional intelligence can make significant progress quickly. And a speedy session on EQ can give a real boost.

iStock-947324402.jpgBut what gets in the way when we slip up and blame or defend instead of taking responsibility or coaching? I’ve never really had a serious argument from someone in a quiet moment that when they blamed or acted otherwise with low EQ, that there was a better way.

Trusting ourselves in the moment is what gets in the way. Trust that to coach, for example, will provide a more sustainable long term solution, than playing the blame game. So like our EQ session, it’s the ability to quickly engage in the appropriate facet of EQ.

Stephen