Authentic Leadership: Be the difference

Craig DentThe definition of authentic and effective leadership is an ever-changing one. In the last decade, corporate work practices and leadership styles have shifted in ways that were previously unimaginable. We’ve witnessed the move from ‘old’ power, where control was held by a few select individuals, to a ‘new’ collaborative power where it is shared by many in a transparent, participatory and peer-driven environment.

Today’s most progressive organisations understand and embrace the principles of new power to shape their workplace cultures and harness “bottom-up” forces within their organisations for the better. Organisations such as Google, Netflix and Intel realise that despite their size, their business models can be easily replicated. However, what cannot be ‘copied and pasted’ is their unique workplace cultures. A culture built on transparency opens up many avenues that diminish the traditional ‘us vs. them’ divide and instead focuses on the collective and how ‘WE’ move forward as an organisation.

State Trustees has embarked on an all-encompassing cultural transformation process since 2012. This has involved a dramatic level of change across the organisation in a relatively short period of time – effective cultural change is something that cannot be achieved overnight.

Over the past three years the State Trustees leadership team has worked hard to engage and connect with employees in an effort to initiate and instigate significant cultural change across our organisation. Our latest step forward can be seen in our “Cherished Things” campaign, as we seek to re-position State Trustees in the minds of our people and our stakeholders as an organisation that is focused on helping love to live on for Victorians.

Transparency and accountability are two pillars we have focused our efforts on. By investing time in canvassing employee and client attitudes towards State Trustees we have been able to effectively identify where improvement is needed and how we can go about addressing these areas.

Developing and empowering existing employees to become leaders and advocates for State Trustees was one of my main motivations when taking up the role of CEO. Since joining the company I have worked to surround myself with talented and trustworthy people who are often far more capable and knowledgeable about their particular areas of expertise than I’ll ever be. Investing in these people and providing them with the necessary opportunities to grow into leadership roles is absolutely crucial if the organisation’s culture is to continue to move forward.

It’s easy to be skeptical and cynical about leadership in 2015. So many of our so-called leaders have failed their particular organisations so spectacularly. However, I still believe leaders can make a real difference provided they are open to change, engage in an authentic way with the people who work with them, and embrace and act upon constructive feedback.

Categories: Leadership, Organisation

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