Regardless of the part of the business you are in, I believe that leadership is about people. Whether you are the leader of a small team or a large organisation, your job is to support, develop, grow, include and empower the people you work with. And critically - those people and the citizens of NSW - are diverse. I think it is important to be conscious of that every day, not once at a diversity course.
I like to think of myself as open minded, but through this experience there were things I recognised in myself. We are a really diverse workforce and I came to realise the need to consciously collaborate with that diversity, instead of sticking with the people most likely to think like me.
Get a few people together and come up with some options, and make sure one of them is someone you haven’t worked with before, or someone who will challenge and ask questions.
I am now focused on consciously collaborating with a more diverse group of people. From a business perspective, I’m noticing who I have in the room and who I seek input from. I’m asking myself, do I have the right representation? Who else can give their opinion? Will we get to see this from all perspectives?
I’m also challenging the people I work with to do the same. I’ll say ‘get a few people together and come up with some options, and make sure one of them is someone you haven’t worked with before, or someone who will challenge and ask questions’.
By bringing diverse people together and giving everyone a voice, I’m trying to drive a culture of collaboration. People are feeling more empowered and I can see this approach making an impact.
Recently a manager came up and said ‘I’m going to stop going to this person who usually agrees with me. I’m going to go to someone who has a different view’. That conversation showed me that it’s resonating, but it’s just the start.
How to be collaborative
- Allow team members or colleagues to speak in meetings before you express your own views.
- Communicate to your team members that they should feel safe to raise any issues or concerns.
- Highlight shared goals to help different team members to work together.
- Work at accommodating different working styles to get the best out of others.
- Create an environment where team members feel safe to take risks where appropriate.