The Future of Leadership

30 Oct

Future of Leadership 2014 Brisbane (4)

Thoughts from the Future of Leadership conference, by Cicero MD Kathryn Britt

When you find yourself in a room of 500 odd (well, some not that odd) enthusiastic people at a leadership conference, you can tend to cynicism or as our lovely MC said you can “drink the Kool-Aid” and go with the flow.

And who knows, with an open mind there’s a very good chance that one or two good things will resonate with you. They may be revelations or simply reinforcements of things you’ve forgotten, that you can use to transform your business.

I was fortunate to attend the Future of Leadership conference in Brisbane recently. One day, one bunch of highly entertaining and clued up speakers, and one very good cause being supported by the event.

Peter Baines’ Hands Across the Water charity was the beneficiary of the conference (speakers generously donated their time and travel costs – the registration fee was ridiculously reasonable given the calibre of the speakers). It’s worth visiting their website to learn more about the great work they do.

I got something from all the speakers, but in the interests of brevity here are a few of my key take-outs: (it may not be rocket science, but sometimes having ideas reiterated can give you a real “aha” moment about how to apply them to your work, your clients and even your private life)

1. Leaders need to understand the neurochemicals they bring out in their team – and help dish out the good ones! Transactional leadership is long gone. Bring human back and connect more, communicate authentically. (Darren Hill)

2. Active, constructive conversations lead to happy teams. Don’t just say nice things – what cements relationships is when two people are actively constructive. Celebrate victory, this brings people together. (Dr Adam Fraser)

3. “We can’t change what happened, but we can change what happens next.” With his moving presentation about setting up a charity for Thai children in the aftermath of the devastating Boxing Day tsunami, Peter Baines’ message really resonated. This is a mantra I’ll be incorporating into my home and work life! Also, “a good leader engineers shared experiences” – so true, and again a philosophy I want to remember at work and at play. (Peter Baines)

4. “Everybody has a story to tell, you just have to ask. Ask your employees their dreams. People’s stories tells you what’s in them – for you. Leadership is a privilege – appreciate the people around you, believe in their dreams.” Tricia’s personal story was compelling – and beautifully told. (Tricia Velthuizen)

5. A sense of progress motivates staff – make sure you communicate progress or teams get disheartened and give up. Make it visible. (This from the deliciously dapper fellow ranga, Dr Jason Fox)

Looking through my notes, this also resonated with me (and sorry I can’t attribute it, the cat ate my notes): As a leader, bring enough of yourself and something to share. Ask for energy.

The speakers at the Future of Leadership certainly asked for and received energy from the audience, and gave something of themselves. A great event, and worth keeping an eye on for 2015 as they tackle the Future of Culture in organisations.

(By the way, the awesome visual presentation at the top of this post was one of many from the day from visual mojo guru Lynne Cazaly).

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