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