Each year, Human Synergistics, a global culture and leadership research organisation, deliver a high quality, free conference for their accredited network and customers.
Their typical MO is to showcase stories from CEO’s and leaders of organisations who engage with their tools and demonstrate significant positive change in culture, leadership, and ultimately organisational performance.
However, this year, for a refreshing change – they chose to hero a different and often under-represented voice – that of the middle and frontline leader.
Two incredibly brave women – Kristin Wilding from TasNetworks and Chaoli Jones from Gallagher – stepped up to deliver raw and real stories of personal transformation and change on what is a very public platform. They were both clearly nervous – but this only served to make them more accessible.
Wilding worked hard over two years to shift her team’s culture from one that was highly defensive – where the team withheld their opinions and often disagreed with one another; to a more constructive team environment where they were more focussed on sharing, learning, growing and achieving as a team. She chose to focus on building trust, clarity and accountability – to slowly drive this change over time.
“We’re comfortable as humans to share the good of what we’re up to…we’re less comfortable to be in that space of sharing the challenges and the rough roads that got us to that place,” remarked TasNetworks’ Kirstan Wilding in her Human Synergistics Culture & Leadership Conference presentation 2021.
“I found that it probably took about a year to start to get into those more meaningful quality talks.”
“Courage, and inclusive and creative thought, and nimble learning…when you’re doing all of that, people do reach out to you in new and different ways. And that is truly inspiring in keeping you fuelled and energised in the work that you’re trying to move along. So I suppose my call is – stick with it, stay courageous, and keep being awesome, because it can shift over time,” concluded Wilding of Gallagher.
Chaoli Jones received 360-degree feedback 7-months prior to the conference and openly shared how she moved from a state of overworking, stress headaches, difficulty making decisions and low self-belief in her capacity as a new frontline manger; to prioritising her health and mental wellbeing, goal setting and achievement, and driving accountability through her team.
“Today I can say I don’t have low self belief anymore….I just have better coping mechanisms now,” reflected Jones in her Human Synergistics Culture & Leadership Conference presentation 2021.
“I’m a bit more forgiving of myself and I know I’m doing a good job because I’m trying everyday to be better than yesterday. It’s all a constant work in progress and from what I’ve learned there’s no true finish line. Sometimes I default back to my ways which is totally normal because old habits are hard to break and behaviours take time to change.”
“But I’ve just kept working at the goals I’ve set for myself and I try my best to keep at it.”
My take-aways from the incredible courage and honesty of these women reminded me of:
I encourage you to watch these vlogs and form your own conclusions around what you can do to be a more accessible, vulnerable, transparent leader.