I have put together these laws (when I say ‘laws’, I mean more like guidelines) for any leader who is looking for some direction – however, these are also great for making the most of life in general. I will expand on each one to explain why I believe they’re so important, and what they mean to me.
Without further ado, here are my 7 Laws of Leadership:
- Be brave. Be kind.
You’ll hear me speak (and write!) about this a lot, and with good reason; the best leaders are those who blaze trails and are willing to do the things nobody else will. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish when you take that leap! Always practice kindness and bravery.
- Follow your instincts, but don’t discount others’ opinions
If you can’t trust your gut feelings, why should anyone else trust in you and your actions? This doesn’t mean that you should ignore what everyone else thinks; it’s important to seriously consider all options and outcomes before making a decision, but great leaders become known for their instincts when they steer people and companies in the right direction and out of trouble. Trusting yourself can be hard, but it’s what you need to do to become a better leader.
- Be respectful, always
A leader who doesn’t treat others with respect will never be respected – and won’t be getting the best from their team. Relationships are built on respect, and you’ll need to forge relationships often in the workplace to be truly successful.
- Be empowering
When you give those around you the encouragement and tools to succeed, you’re instilling a sense of pride in their work and improving their self-esteem, while pushing them to get the best results possible. Making people feel good will make you feel good too, and will bring a great atmosphere to the workplace. You’ll also improve the culture of the business, which will have positive ripple effects throughout the whole company.
Contact the team at LeadershipHQ for a FREE Leadership or Business Culture Coaching Session
- Be the model of what you expect from others
“Do as I say, not as I do” leaders are not respected, and will quickly sink a positive atmosphere in the workplace. If you want your team to be hard-working, honest, passionate – you need to model this for them and live it yourself. Enthusiasm is contagious; spread it to your team and see the great results.
- Be willing to do what is right, even when others don’t agree
Having integrity and doing what you believe is the right thing to do is an important characteristic of any great leader. No real change was ever made without someone taking that risk, standing up and saying “No more. This is what is right!” While others may not like it, you will more often than not gain their respect for sticking to your guns and doing the right thing, no matter how hard it is.
- Never stop learning
You’ll never know everything – that’s just a fact of life. But things are always changing; new research comes out, or new technology, and to continue staying on top of the competition, you need to be constantly learning and seeking out new information. Improving your skills and knowledge is never a bad thing
I go by these guidelines every day, and I hope they help inspire you to take the next step and ramp up your leadership. These laws also apply to life in general – who doesn’t want to be the best they can be, whether they’re a leader or not?
I’d love to hear what you think of my 7 Laws of Leadership! Let me know what you think of them, and if you think I should include any other laws.
Eric Swenson, leadership and workforce strategist and author of The Five A’s of Great Employees and Managing People in the 21st Century hosted a webinar for Ascentis.com that provided insights into what he believes will be Human Resources’s top trends in 2019, and how to face the changing world of Human Resources.
Technology continuing to increase
As businesses try to keep up with the almost constant increases in workplace technology and utilise them to improve their training, recruiting, engagement and other facets of HR-related activities, the HR professional must realise (if they haven’t already) that technology will be their new best friend when it comes to workplace relations. Innovation and productivity will be driven by technology, aided by those in HR who embrace the advantages that said technology gives them.
Adapting to the changing workforce
It’s already occurring in many companies around the world, and as more Millennials enter the workforce, they bring with them the desire for working remotely, including overseas, to maintain a better balance between life and work. Businesses need to be prepared to offer opportunities to work remotely and adapt their HR functions to suit this new workforce. Training, team-building, recruiting and more will require innovation to keep productivity at acceptable levels.
Reconnecting with your employees
With more and more people working remotely, it can be hard for them to fully engage and feel part of the company’s culture without being physically surrounded by it. HR needs to get creative this year, to help ensure that the culture of your company is integrated into everything your employees go through, whether it’s in the recruiting process or retention.
Leaders encouraging innovation
The ‘do as I say, not as I do’ manager’s days are numbered in 2019, as leaders who are vulnerable, authentic, brave and open continue to get the best from their employees. Improve productivity and employee satisfaction by providing chances for them to use their skills and strengths, to work autonomously and have a bigger say in company goings-on
Continuing to stand for equality
In this era of #metoo, it’s more important than ever for HR representatives to be aware of workplace harassment; how to address it in the workplace and helping women in new leadership roles feel comfortable.
Be willing to take on those less skilled
When struggling to fill positions, you’ll need to look at those applicants who aren’t as educated or skilled and be ready to up-skill and train them for the roles that need filling. Many applicants aren’t as formally qualified as previous generations (for a number of reasons) so this means taking a chance if you want more employees.
Providing a purpose
Millennials, especially, are more productive and likely to remain with the company if they’re able to find meaning and purpose in what they do. To keep up with this and retain your best employees, as an HR professional you’ll need to be evaluating your corporate responsibility and the social purpose your business serves regularly, to make sure they align with the organisation’s goals and values.
Leadership is changing (our research)
Organisations and HR must radically rethink all of their stakeholder interactions, especially those involving their human capital. This includes how to acquire, deploy, develop and retain their people. Bold leadership characteristics will be required to ensure your business adapts and thrives. From our research, we’ve distilled the following competencies that we think will be critical for the 2019 Leader:
- Collaborative Orientation
- Developer of People
- Emotional Intelligence
- People Management
- Courageous Leadership
- Learning Agility
- Global Mindset
- Cultural Agility
- Future Focus
- Leading Change
- Innovative/Creative Champion
- 360 Communicator
What are your organisation and L& D teams doing to prepare your current and future leaders and how many of these competencies are being developed? This is where LeadershipHQ can help!
We need to be adaptable as the workplace continuously changes, to ensure they can keep the organisation on the right track so that the company isn’t left behind. Reflection and evaluation need to be practised regularly to stay on top of the game and determine the effectiveness of your strategies.
For more information please read these great white-papers from HR World and PwC too.
Let me know your thoughts or any other trends you are seeing.
Sonia McDonald is one of Globe’s leading leadership executive coaches and keynote speakers, as well as an advisor, thought leader, and author. She’s also CEO and founder of LeadershipHQ and has been named as one of the Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs and Top 250 Influential Women in the world. LeadershipHQ are leading the way in leadership and work with Organisations and Businesses such as Qantas, Thiess, Super Retail Group, Brickworks, Kane Constructions, Bartons, EY, Maurice Blackburn, Grant Thorton, and Minter Ellison. LeadershipHQ partner with businesses in building great leadership and people development through their cutting edge and high impact leadership programs, coaching, workshops, resources and events.
Sonia has worked, coached and spoken in front of people around the world, encouraging them to succeed by reaching their full potential and inspiring leadership greatness. Sonia has written several books on leadership: Leadership Attitude, Just Rock It! and Neuroscience of Leadership, and she writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. She has been published in BBC Capital, The Australian, HRD Magazine, Business Insider and Richtopia. She has spoken at numerous leading conferences, companies and events across the world with her vision to create authentic, kind and courageous leaders and organisations.
The leaders who get the best results and achieve their goals are brave, even when times are tough. But bravery isn’t just about doing heroic things all the time; being vulnerable and other behaviours and attitudes are just as brave, so here are five signs that you’ve been a brave leader all along!
1. You take responsibility & don’t blame others
Brave leaders are those who put their hand up and take responsibility for things, good or bad. They don’t throw anyone under the bus or try to shift blame; that’s what cowards do! Upper management will also appreciate this quality, so you’re showing your bravery by doing this.
2. You always act with integrity – no matter what
Leaders who act with integrity are especially great leaders because they do the right thing even when there is no one watching. People will see your reliability and trustworthiness when they know you’ll do what you say you will, and when you said you’d do it. Holding yourself accountable and sticking to commitments is one of the marks of an effective and brave leader.
3. You recognise loyalty & are loyal yourself
Being loyal to your team and your organisation as a whole may seem like an obvious sign, but if you’re loyal even when times are tough, that’s when you’re the bravest.
Recognising and appreciating loyalty is also brave; it takes courage to stand up for those who have stood by you, and showing appreciation in this way makes your relationship stronger as well.
4. You lead by example
Following on from having integrity (like we mentioned in point two) is leading by example and taking charge. Of course, leaders should delegate and instruct their team, but unless you’re doing as you say, you’re being hypocritical and that can lose you a lot of respect. Leading by example might not be noticed as quickly as other traits or behaviours, but you’ll continue being a brave leader if you keep doing what you know needs to be done, and doing it the same way you asked your team to do it.
5. You never give up, thanks to your sense of duty
Taking the easy way out by giving up and quitting is a sign of weakness, especially in leaders, because brave leaders feel a sense of duty to get the task done no matter what. Even if the job has a big chance of not being successful, or not being up to a high standard, your sense of duty means you’ll still do your very best. Brave leaders must have this quality, and it motivates your team when they look to you for guidance and see that you’re still forging ahead, despite reservations.
Hopefully, you see a few, if not all, of these signs in yourself as a leader. Either way, it gives you something to strive for and reflect on, which great leaders are always doing. Bravery isn’t always heroics, sometimes just being loyal and working hard makes you brave. Brave leaders are the ones that go on to achieve great things, so start practising being brave now!
If you truly want to be brave in 2019 – join The Leadership Collective or brave Summit today
I’m all about helping people, especially women, reach their full potential as authentic leaders – as you’ve probably noticed by now! It’s a subject close to my heart, and when I saw that there are only 14 women chief executives at the helm of the top 200 companies, and 24 women CFOs, it gave me the push to start my brave program and conference for women leaders (to find out more about brave click here at https://leadershiphq.com.au/brave/)
It’s incredible in this day and age that there are 23 companies in the ASX200 without any women as top leaders! This is according to the CEW ASX200 Senior Executive Census from this year. The number has gone down; it was 41 companies last year! But 23 is still an unacceptable number.
The Census doesn’t look at women on company boards (which is another issue I’m incredibly passionate about) so for now we’ll be focusing on chief executive positions and companies that are missing women in those roles.
Have a look at these key stats from this year and last year:
The number of ASX200 female CEOs:
2017 – 11
2018 – 14
The number of ASX200 female CFOs:
2017 – 17
2018 – 24
Number of companies with no female representation in their executive leadership teams:
2017 – 41
2018 – 23
Number of women in the ASX200 executive leadership teams:
2017 – 381
2018 – 430
Number of men in the ASX200 Executive Leadership Teams:
2017 – 1423
2018 – 1428
Shocking, isn’t it?? 1428 men and only 430 women! We still have so far to go in terms of equality, even though we’ve come a long way already.
Here are just some of the companies that don’t have any women in their executive leadership teams (we can help!):
- ARB Corporation Limited
- Evolution Mining
- James Hardie Industries
- JB Hi-Fi
- Pilbara Minerals
- Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group
- Washington H Soul Pattinson & Company
- Whitehaven Coal
That’s just a sample! Isn’t it terrible that so many big companies are missing women at the top?
All companies needing to be focused on placing women into the important line roles, roles that have a direct effect on commercial outcomes, like being the head of a business unit or a COO. 78% of the 23 CEOs appointed this year (up until August) were those who held these sorts of line roles – and 88% of lines roles are held by men, which is hardly surprising.
Companies without women in lines roles have reduced from 63% last year to 59%, and shows the slow change towards equality in top leadership roles. I will continue doing my part to inspire women and give them the tools they need to take charge and ROCK their positions, to get to the leadership roles they deserve!
I’m finishing this blog with a shout out to the 14 female CEOs listed in the ASX200. You ladies ROCK IT! And kudos to your companies for working towards equality in the workforce!
- Mirvac’s Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz
- Fortescue Metals’ Elizabeth Gaines
- REA’s Tracey Fellows
- Harvey Norman’s Katie Page
- The A2 Milk Company’s Jayne Hrdlicka
- Coca-Cola Amatil’s Alison Watkins
- Incitec Pivot’s Jeanne Johns
- Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s Marnie Baker
- Viva Energy’s Margaret Kennedy
- Chorus’s Kate McKenzie
- Estia Health’s Norah Kathleen Barlow
- Lynas Corporation’s Amanda Lacaze
- Ausdrill’s Theresa Mlikota
- Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia’s Georgette Nicholas
About the Author Sonia McDonald
Sonia loves to build and develop future CEO’s, Leaders and Entrepreneurs. Sonia McDonald, CEO & Founder of LeadershipHQ; is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It!. Sonia McDonald was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe and Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs by Richtopia. She is one of Australia’s Leading Leadership Executive Coaches, Advisors and Keynote Speakers. Her passions are coaching, keynote speaking as well as leadership development and advising on boards.She loves to inspire & motivate leaders to think differently, be the best they can be & empower everyone to see themselves as leaders. She is making a difference. Her purpose is to build leadership capability, confidence and leadership attitude across the Globe.
She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the Globe. She is passionate about cutting edge research and consulting in her industry as well as innovative tools and strategies around Leadership, Organisational Development, Neuroscience and Diversity.
Sonia’s expertise in organisational development, learning & development, facilitating, and leadership development makes her an excellent leader to partner with organisations and CEOs to ensure the full potential of their business is achieved through its people.
She is about RESULTS! Sonia has been published in The Australian, HRD Magazine, Business Insider, Business Woman’s Media, Style Magazine, Richtopia and Women in Focus. She is an inspirational and dynamic Leadership and Neuroscience Keynote Speaker. She will engage, educate and change the hearts and minds of your leaders and organisations.
Please contact Sonia here at http://soniamcdonald.com.au/ or http://leadershiphq.com.au/
The lifeblood of any successful career and business is in building great connections. Whether building new connections with potential clients or strengthening relationships with your existing network, making sure they are meaningful is essential to growing your business.
For extroverts, this is often second nature. But for many people, it can be quite challenging.
By using professional networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter, it can be easy to make an initial connection, but then to have virtually no direct contact for an extended period very quickly.
Think about your professional network, how many people have you not engaged with for well over a year?
Here are 5 keys to Building Great Connections:
1. Find a Way To Add Value
Instead of just sending random connection requests on LinkedIn, first, find a way to help that person. Take some time to work out what the potential contact’s concerns and wishes are. Then find a way you can offer a solution to their problem. It’s the perfect way to start a relationship which is a two-way street.
2. Ask Your Contact’s Opinions
Your contacts are part of your network for a reason, so be sure to reach out and take advantage of their wealth of knowledge and experience. Reach out to a contact when they may be able to assist, ask them about their life, and then be sure to thank them for their assistance.
3. Offer Professional Leads
If you hear of an opportunity which may be appropriate, let people in your network know. Rather than just jobs or referrals, focus on things like speaking opportunities, committees, special projects, and board positions. Also, offer to provide an introduction.
4. Keep Your Network Current
With LinkedIn, it is easier than ever to build a network of connections, fast, and develop a professional and modern business Rolodex. Instead of just connecting with people and disappearing, keep in touch through updates, sharing content, congratulating connections on their achievements, and furthering your connection network.
5. Make A Real And Genuine Connection
Watch my 2-minute YouTube video on Connection – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU8AZ4vStew
If you want your network to be made up of people who know you, like you, and trust you, then just sending a friend request, liking updates and posts, isn’t enough.
Introductions work best to make a real connection. Depending on what suits you – either online or offline is fine, but be sure to be genuine. Start with letting the contact know a little about you, and also provide them with some value in their life.
To further develop your business connections skills and connect with greatness, check out our Business & Leadership Coaching and Programs at LeadershipHQ.
Experience LeadershipHQ and you will leverage the best of the best in Leadership, Culture, and Business.
Stay tuned for our new program and group – The Business Collective in Brisbane. Register your interest HERE.
If you are looking to work with me Exclusively in my Coaching Program; please the Overview, Outcomes, and Bonuses HERE plus a FREE Career or Strategy Plan.
Why is it that we have so few female leaders? What is it that holds us back from reaching the same levels as our male leaders?
We’ve had our first female Prime Minister, for heaven’s sake. Surely things should have changed by now? But they have not.
Sheryl Sandberg, in her TEDTalk, quoted some statistics on the topic. “Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world. The numbers tell the story quite clearly. 190 heads of state — nine are women. Of all the people in parliament in the world, 13 percent are women. In the corporate sector, women at the top, C-level jobs, board seats — tops out at 15, 16 percent. The numbers have not moved since 2002 and are going in the wrong direction. And even in the non-profit world, a world we sometimes think of as being led by more women, women at the top: 20 percent.”
Later in her talk she makes some really interesting observations.
- Women systematically underestimate their own abilities.
- Women do not negotiate for themselves in the workforce.
- Men attribute their success to themselves, and women attribute it to other external factors.
- Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women.
All of these observations are accurate. Some of our behaviours (or lack of them) are taught to us by the society we live in, and we have accepted them as being the only way to behave. Others are simply due to the fact that we are wired differently and therefore place value on different areas from men.
It’s a fact that there are basic differences between the male and female brains and that is what triggers our response to the different stimuli. For example, the amygdala is bigger in the male brain. It’s the region which alerts us to and responds to danger, so it is natural for men to be very competitive. Women tend to take a more consultative approach to avoid outright confrontation.
Men are confident in their abilities and that’s an attractive thing in a male leader, yet confident women are not regarded as likeable and in many cases, not worthy of respect.
Let’s not even talk about hormones and the impact they have on our thoughts and behaviours!
A different approach to leadership is not a bad thing. A recent study showed female brains are radically more active in 85% of their brain and it seems that the female brain is actually better wired for the leadership role than the male.
Are we holding ourselves back because we still underestimate our abilities? Are we holding ourselves back because we are so used to accepting the male model of leadership that we can’t see past it?
What do you think?