Insights and reflections from the Copland Leadership Program
Recently three Associate Directors from across the University were given the opportunity to attend the Copland Leadership Program.
This program brought together a small group of professionals from across a range of sectors including marketing, construction, government and energy to hear candid talks from seven top Australian business leaders such as the Chairman of Myer, the Head of Business Development for Google Australia and New Zealand and the General Manager of Corporate Strategy for Australia Post. Whilst they all had their individual perspectives and concepts, several key points kept surfacing and these represented key elements of successful leaders regardless of their sector or their individual leadership style.
There are multiple leadership styles and a good leader is able to adapt their style to suite the circumstances. All the presenters had used a directive top down leadership on occasion but a collaborative, consultative leadership that brought others with them dominated their approach.
- Openness - this is the obvious extension of the consultative leader. They trusted their staff with sensitive information, understanding that to bring people with you they needed to understand why, and by doing this they earned the trust of those they had to lead.
- When setting goals it was better to be selective. Doing a little really well was better than trying to do too much and not delivering on anything.
- Everyone needs to be clear on the vision, what the indicators of success are and how these are measured.
- A leader needs to be curious, this means questioning common practices and looking for the right moments to improve and make change.
- Finally - Encouragement of innovation and a high tolerance of failure. Several presenters made the point that the most certain way to fail was to not try in the first place. Their role as leaders was to create an environment where people felt safe to do things differently, where killing off a project that wasn't going to deliver was a positive not something to be ashamed of. Failure isn't failure if things are learnt that are applied in future innovations.
Daniel Bell, Senior Legal Counsel, Chancellery Services and Stephen Hannan, Associate Director, Research Services.
Anne Walters, Associate Director, Information Technology, also attended the conference.