5 ways to be an authentic leader

In 2020, authentic leadership is more important than ever before – people can smell bullsh*t a mile away and they’re adverse to it.

Employees and customers are gravitating towards companies and leaders with a clear sense of purpose and direction. So it’s time to stop whatever it is you’re doing right now! We’re going to explain exactly why you need to pay attention to authenticity for the future success of your business, and how you can be an authentic leader.

The concept of authentic leadership has huge benefits for business – it boosts organisational performance by 40%, improves reputation and social license and secures the long-term viability of your enterprise. Everyone wants all of this, right? Well, there’s more…

Employees are happier, more comfortable, and more productive when they feel like they know their leaders, and that their leaders have the best interests of all of their stakeholders at heart.

True authentic leadership is when leaders act as their true selves at work and they have a shared purpose with their organisation and its people. Authentic leaders allow themselves to connect with their employees and have the long-term goals of their organisation as a guiding principle.

‘Fake it until you make it’ works because you employ it for a short time, but at some point, you need to genuinely be who you are.

My top 5 ways to be an authentic leader in your business:

    • Know your strengths – If you know what you’re good at, you can work to hone them to be better at what comes naturally to you. For your weaknesses, you can strive to improve them and have someone back you up on that. For example, if you’re not a great negotiator, you can bring a team member who is great to your negotiation sessions, while working on your own skills. This doesn’t get you out of difficult conversations because you’re not good at them. No one likes it and you can’t use this as an excuse!
    • Be clear about who you are – Communicate your beliefs and what you stand for, let people opt in and out of your leadership as they inevitably will if there’s a clash in belief or style. People want to follow someone who they believe in.
    • Trust and loyalty are key – Authenticity builds trust and trust builds organisational and customer loyalty. Just like any relationship outside of the workplace, without trust and loyalty, you don’t have anything. So these are essential ingredients for workplace relationships and are important for authentic leadership.
    • Know your values – You can’t authentically be a leader if you don’t know what you stand for – if you know your values, you know the standards you will hold people to and you can back those standards with a clear why.

Are you looking to evolve your leadership skills and understand how to implement the concept of authentic leadership in your business?

We have assembled inspiring luminaries alongside Australia’s top CEOs and MDs to help you develop your leadership through authenticity, openness, and trust. Back for its fifth year on 17-20 March, the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 is not to be missed. Tickets are selling fast, get yours here.

4 tips for setting individual KPIs for your team

Setting individual KPIs for each of your employees is probably one of the most important things you can do in your business. But it doesn’t end there – there’s so much more to KPIs with just setting them!

KPIs are absolutely essential to driving business results, improving employee satisfaction and reducing employee turnover. All of these are pretty important, right? Obviously should be top priorities. After all, you want your team to be motivated and to feel empowered to make a real difference in their career and in their workplace, for the wider world.

Without clear, concise and constructive KPIs, employees can be left feeling a lack of purpose and direction not just within company, but also in their career journey. You want to steer away from this at all costs!

As a manager or business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure you have an effective KPI system for employees. But how exactly do you do it?

My top 4 tips for setting individual KPIs for your team:

  • Set stretch KPIs. If your employee wants to move up in the business, their KPIs should be stretch i.e. difficult to achieve, but it should also be made clear that just passing isn’t enough – exceeding is where you need them to be.
  • Think about what needs to be done. What does the company need to achieve in order to get it here you want it to go, and how will the input of individuals affect that? For example, if you want an extra $100,000 in revenue from your team, you then need to work back from that number. How many calls do they do now to get that number? How many extra would they make? Emails to send out? Whatever goal is the KPI or action the staff member has to take must to correspond accordingly.
  • Performance measurement and follow up is essential. How do you measure/track performance and how do you feed it back to people? Performance metrics should be visible and clear where everyone can see them and know where they sit against others of the same position. It can either be a great motivator or a real kick in the face as to where they think their performance is at.
  • Seek feedback from your employee on what their goals are and what they want to achieve. If that’s a promotion or a sideways step – their KPIs need to align with both what the organisation needs and where they want to go, what they want to be.

Would you like to learn how to create a culture of high-performance and authenticity, and how you can best support, engage and empower your people to succeed? Back for its fifth year, the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 teaches you how to lead with greater purpose in the contemporary business climate. Early bird rates end in 7 days, so now is the time to get your tickets. Register here.

How To Set SMART Goals For 2020

It’s that time of year again when we all evaluate every area of our lives and think about what we want to achieve in the year to come. From career to health, family life to finances, many people daydream about what they want to do and hope it will magically happen or come to them, but that’s very far from the truth.

The only way to make all your dreams for the year come true is to set SMART goals for 2020. Not just any goals, they need to be SMART. If you want something, you have to go out and chase it! You need to be clear on exactly what it is you want to achieve, be able to measure it, work out whether it’s achievable and realistic, and put a time frame on it.

You have to make a plan and make it happen. You only get out what you put in, and if your dreams were easy everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they?

So, the first step for working towards your goals for 2020 is to break down your dreams into goals. Start now, grab a pen and paper. Let’s write SMART goals together.

What are SMART goals?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time framed

Start with a list of everything you want to achieve in the year, let your mind go wild!

Once you’ve workshopped some ideas, you can start with the first criteria – specific. Let’s take a goal that 98% of people want to do at the start of the year – ‘get healthy’. Having a goal to ‘get healthy’ is not specific. What does this mean? Is it weight loss, is it muscle tone, is it eating more vegetables?

Let’s assume it is weight loss. Specifically, how much? You have to put a number on it. Same for muscle tone, or even eating better. 10kgs? 20% more muscle? 5 healthy dinners a week?

From here, we take the next criteria – measurable – can you measure your goal? If it’s specific you should be able to measure it – any of the examples above can be measured and tracked. That’s what you want, something that makes it very clear to know whether you’ve achieved your goal or not.

Is it achievable? Did you say you want to lose 30kgs by March 31? Now, this probably isn’t achievable without drastically restricting your life or making massive changes and it’s tied to the next step, which is realistic. Given how you run your life now, considering all lifestyle factors and knowing we all only have 24 hours in a day, can you achieve what you have set out to do in the timeframe available?

And that’s how we arrive at the last criteria – time framed. You probably can lose 5kgs by March 31. That’s probably realistic and achievable, but not 30kg!

If you take all of your goals on your list from all areas of life and apply these criteria to it, you should come up with a few that you can commit to achieving. Or even one. One is better than none!

You should keep track of your efforts. It will be easier to stick to your goals if you can both see what you are doing and visibly recording the results. Seeing yourself get some small wins can be amazing for motivation! Tell someone about them – verbal commitment is hard to break, and we are social animals – social proof can help you stick to and achieve your goals.

If your goal is career orientated, say getting a promotion, setting and tracing your goals can help prove that you’re worth it. You can take your goal tracker into your next performance review. Metrics are hard to argue against, especially if they have proven results. They show initiative and commitment, what employer doesn’t want to see that?

Well there you have it, my top tips on how to set SMART goals for 2020. I wish you all the best with your goal setting and I hope you enjoy the process!

If you’d like to learn more about career goal setting, The Empowered Woman is the event for you! To be held in Sydney on March 26, you’ll learn how to break down your career goals into achievable steps and gain the tools to support your journey to the job from Australia leading businesswoman. Tickets for this one-day event will sell out quickly, so don’t miss out. Get your tickets today!

Bad management and how to stop it

Stopping bad management ruining businesses and stagnating people’s careers is something that I’m really passionate about. When it comes to bad management, it isn’t just about intimidation or belittling, deliberately setting unachievable targets or projecting the stereotypical “horrible bosses” behaviour. It can be as simple as leaving staff wondering what their goals are, resulting in them not being able to achieve them, or a dereliction of duty because it’s too hard or too confronting.

In 2020, I’m challenging CEOs, CFOs, CMOs and everything in between, no matter what the size of the business or organisation, to stop bad management and to have the tough conversations that turn managers into leaders.

I’ve worked in small, medium and large organisations in the education sector and have been fortunate enough to meet hundreds of managers from some of the largest organisations in the country to start-up business owners trying to find their way. Some of the key things I have learnt along the way include:

  • Communication is key – people have to know what to expect and how they are to deliver on those expectations
  • It’s recognition – staff should know when they have done a good job and have shown the right commitment
  • It’s providing an environment of psychological safety, of allowing people to ask the hard questions and not being afraid of addressing concerns
  • It’s leading by example and modelling the behaviour you want others to emulate and being brave enough to call out behaviour that is not OK
  • It’s making values and standards clear and visible and recognising behaviour the exemplifies those values and standards because allowing poor behaviour to continue says clearly to other staff that that behaviour is OK, but it also says to them you don’t care enough about them or the company to stop it

So, my question to you is – how will you change your management style in 2020?

If you’re looking for ways to enhance your management style, join us for the upcoming Authentic Leadership Summit being held in Sydney from the 17-20 March 2020. Back for its 5th year, keynote speakers include, Ita Buttrose, Larry Marshall, Tim Kelsey and Mike Baird to name a few. Early bird pricing is available in until the 14th February 2020 – book here.

5 ways to be a better leader in 2020

Every year I host 35 leadership summits, present over 500 high profile speakers and educate more than 2500 attendees looking for that golden nugget to become a better leader within their business or organisation.

I truly believe that what got you here, won’t get you there. So, don’t be complacent and think that where you’re at right now is good enough, because sadly that’s when you get left behind. Chase the desire to be best in practice and be open to learning from others to stay ahead of the game.

Leadership isn’t something that you’re born with, it’s a learnt skill that needs constant nurturing and development throughout your life and career. Combine this with the fast paced, technologically advanced world we live in, where there seems a new gadget, app or way of doing things everyday – it can become very overwhelming!

It’s time to get back to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) way of doing things and put a plan together for your leadership journey in 2020. The key thing is to make sure it’s realistic and something you will stick to for the longer term and not just a temporary thing.

No matter what stage of the leadership journey you’re at, keep it simple with my top five ways to be a better leader in 2020 include:

  1. Create an Executive Toolkit: Start with your values and write them down, this will give you a way to measure yourself against the qualities your ‘ideal leader’. Knowing who you are and what you stand for will assist your team in measuring themselves in a positive way, leading them to feel valued, and as a by-product, even more motivated.
  2. Allocate time: Block out time in your calendar and schedule the events and training sessions you want to attend throughout the year. If you schedule it in advance, you’re more likely to attend and follow through.
  3. Get educated: Book in formal training, internally or externally and make time to attend it. Conferences for straight from the source learning, deconstructed university courses or one day industry focused trainings. Whatever it is, make time for it. Compile a selection of books to read throughout the year, if reading is not your thing – try an audiobook on the way to work. I’d start with my favourite business author Brené Brown and aim for one per month.
  4. Engage a mentor or sponsor: You’d be surprised how many experienced CEOs, entrepreneurs and educators are looking to mentor or sponsor upcoming talent. Simply make a list of the people who inspire you and reach out.
  5. Network: Attend networking events! You should find that a lot of courses and summits include a networking session at the end of the first day. Plan to stay for the duration, and although it’s like speed dating, you never know who you might meet or what opportunity might arise.

We have now released our 2020 calendar of events. Key highlights of the line-up include:

It’s going to be our biggest year yet! Don’t miss a thing – subscribe to our mailing list to receive all of the latest up to date information on the latest relevant training courses, scheduling information, news and offers. Simply scroll to the bottom of our home page and enter your details to subscribe. See you around!

Executive Leadership Summit 2019: What We Learnt

For those of you who attended our Executive Leadership Summit last month, I’m sure you’ll agree it was a very inspiring and practical experience, this was definitely the best event I have been to in 2019. Keynote speakers Mark Bouris and Todd Sampson were transparent and spoke from their real experiences from their personal journeys of showing up, facing fears and overcoming obstacles in leadership.

The Executive Leadership Summit is all about unleashing your leadership potential. What got you here, won’t get you there. To get there, you need not just the tools but the insight of seasoned executives.

This year, we had over 16 leaders of Australia’s most successful companies speak at the summit about their experiences from leadership, strategy and innovation to people and change management.

I would like to personally thank each and every leader who shared practical, experience-based keynotes and case studies. It was pure honesty, passion, real stories, big and small successes, facing fears and sharing the learnings from making mistakes.

It’s nice to know that some of the country’s best leaders make mistakes, because we all do.  But what really matters is how we grow and develop as a result. The lessons we learn make us who we are. Those who attended will agree we all walked away feeling motivated to take control of our leadership capability and take new actions with confidence.

Tim MacKinnon, Managing Director of eBay Australia and New Zealand opened the summit, speaking off the cuff about the mindset of an effective leader and his top 5 practical tips for executive leadership; it was raw and real. His talk was a highlight for many, reassuring “everyone no matter where they are, can be great leaders” and exploring how to build and balance authority and approachability, especially as you progress in seniority.

Adventurer, filmmaker, television presenter and businessman Todd Sampson showed us how you can boost your creativity and brain power in his VIP keynote, sharing the tools he has discovered while working on his acclaimed series REDESIGN MY BRAIN. He explained “it’s all in the power of the mind to overcome fears” and how you need to continually keep working your brain plasticity. Mental flexibility is absolutely important in business, as is visualisation and emotional regulation. If you have control of your mind, you have control of your life.

I really enjoyed the highly anticipated VIP leadership strategy keynote by Mark Bouris AM, one of the nation’s foremost business strategists. For me, it was a career highlight. Mark drew on his experience to explain the fundamentals of business strategy and its implementation, opening with “a leader … is someone who leads by example” and asked, “what are you doing in your business to hold everyone accountable?”

Mark shared his wisdom on how leaders must drive the discovery of purpose, be willing to take risks and be prepared to fail; “a leader in a business has to offer guidance on ethics”. He urged leaders to provide the structure for the business to execute and operate under, “you’ve got to build a team”. The structure should be revisited every month for continuous improvement.

Suzy Nicoletti, Managing Director of Twitter focused on understanding your people in order to lead them better. She reminded us that building a strong culture of high performance, transparency and trust within a team is absolutely important for talent attraction and retention. She shared unique insights from her five years at Twitter, and why honesty wins over the sugar-coat approach. People want to know you holistically, the real you.

If you missed out on joining us this year, don’t worry we’ll be back in 2020. We have a fantastic line up of events for 2020, kicking off the year with the Authentic Leadership Summit on 17-20 March.

Back for its fifth year, at this summit you’ll learn how to lead your organisation with greater purpose in the contemporary business climate. Key speakers include, Ita Buttrose AC, OBE, Roger Eaton, Katrina Troughton and Larry Marshall. See the full program, line-up and secure your seats here.