“Every moment is a leadership moment. Every single moment that all of us have, is a chance to leave a positive legacy.”
- The importance of caring in leadership
- Creating a safe and supportive environment for your team is essential
- We must lead with our head and our heart
Dr. Kirstin Ferguson AM has an impressive career! She’s been recognised as one of the world’s top 30 “Thinkers” to watch by the UK based Thinkers50. Her career includes time as Deputy Chair of the ABC, CEO of a safety culture consulting firm, Director of Corporate Affairs for a large law firm and with a number of other Non-Executive Director roles. It’s clear that she’s a leader who knows how to make a positive impact wherever she goes.
We gained many valuable insights when Graeme Cowan, WeCARE365’s co-founder, interviewed Kirstin for the The Caring CEO podcast.
Putting People at the Center
Kirstin believes that it’s not necessary to consult with every single person, but rather to genuinely consider the impact of every decision on people and to put them at the centre. This approach is at the heart of Kirstin’s approach to caring in the workplace and prioritising workplace mental health. As a leader, it’s important to think about who will be most impacted by a decision and what it will mean to them, prioritising the well-being of your team.
The pandemic has emphasised the importance of caring in leadership. Leaders have had to make quick decisions without consulting everyone impacted. However, by prioritising care and considering the impact on people, they showed that caring in action is possible even in challenging circumstances. Kirstin has seen many leaders rise to the occasion and demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of their teams and communities. It’s inspiring!
Culture of Silence and Not Speaking Up
Kirstin had early leadership experiences at 17 years old. She went from a private girl’s school to the male-dominated Australian Defense Force Academy. During the early 1990s, the military mistreated cadets, and Kirstin experienced this firsthand. The environment was hierarchical and intense, with lots of yelling and screaming. Despite these challenges, Kirstin persevered and learned a lot about leadership. She has used these experiences to become a compassionate and thoughtful leader today.
In her third year, Kirstin yelled and screamed like many others around her. She realised that this approach was not effective and created an unsafe environment for those around her. Kirstin learned a valuable lesson about leadership.
“There are better ways to lead than through fear and intimidation.”
It’s important to create a safe and supportive environment for your team, where everyone feels valued and respected. This is the definition of psychologically safe teams.
With this, Kirstin realised that a culture of silence and not speaking up is misguided in terms of leadership. Now, she has never been more committed to promoting this culture and helping others understand the importance of speaking up and sharing their ideas.
Leading with your Head and Heart
Kirstin believes that successful leaders integrate their personal and professional selves. Many successful men Kirstin has worked with struggle showing their true selves at work, feeling pressure to embody a certain persona of success and professionalism. But for Kirstin, true leadership requires a balance of both professional and personal qualities, and the most effective leaders are those who bring their whole selves to work.
Below are some of the ‘Whys’ you should balance your professional and personal qualities:
- It gives you a broader perspective on the world.
- It helps you develop important skills like empathy, communication, and problem-solving.
- You can create a more inclusive and diverse workplace culture and mentally healthy teams.
- You’ll be better equipped to understand and connect with the people you work with.
- It will help you be a more effective and successful leader in today’s world.
So don’t be afraid to be yourself and bring all your different skills and interests to the table. Because by doing so, you’ll be setting yourself up for success as a model leader!
Questions to consider:
- Who will be most impacted by this decision I’m making?
- How can I become more empathetic?
- Can I have the same qualities at home and work?
Please visit https://wecare365.com.au/ to know more.
We create simple skill building programs that help managers to lead mentally healthy teams. We believe that the #1 priority for every leader and team is to be more caring and mentally healthy, and enjoy growing together. In the very best teams, people care about each other, they have each other’s back, and enjoy each other’s company. We know the best learning solutions are those that ‘everybody gets’, which are easy to roll out, promote, and provide ongoing practical support. If you would like to see a demo please book here.