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Leadership Matters: March introduction from Marie-Louise Pearson OAM FIML, Chair of the Board

Welcome to Leadership Matters for March. Hybrid working is a topic that is at the forefront for many Australian and New Zealand business managers right now. Of course, there are many industries where working from home just isn’t an option – healthcare and manufacturing are good examples of this. However, in a COVID-fatigued environment, the major struggle is finding the balance between the employee needs and the needs of the business. It’s been said that the power balance is shifting, employees are demanding more from their jobs: flexibility, autonomy, and purpose.

The importance of work-life balance is reflected on by Susan Rochester in her article titled, ‘Work-life balance: How managers can help their people (and themselves)’. Of particular interest are the warning signs that managers and leaders should be attuned too as employees balance the competing demands in their lives.

After two years of uncertainty and continuing rapid change, the criticality of having practices to support and promote a mentally healthy (hybrid) workplace is elevated. In her informative article, Michelle Gibbings highlights the importance of Psychological Safety, an issue that is of particular interest to me. It is knowing your team won’t embarrass, reject or punish you, and where the team trusts and respects each other so people can work and be their authentic selves.

Kate Millar MIML in her article ‘3 simple models to get the most from your Mentoring experience’ has touched on some really important tips for a strong mentor-mentee relationship especially in a hybrid workforce.

One of the biggest concerns for business since COVID-19 has been the leadership development of new managers. Many of the challenges faced by new managers have not been addressed due to the difficult working environment. Very few new managers have the training or the skills to be successful in this environment. It’s imperative that organisations and new managers seek out skills development and leadership programs. The learning & development team at the Institute stands ready to support and help to train new managers through this experience.

In this context, the article ‘How new leaders can reduce overwhelm and create greater clarity’ focuses on the need for new managers to pull back from technical work and approach their new role with a managerial mindset. As management skills increase, a team will become engaged, collaborate more effectively with each other, and improve in overall performance.

Some people thrive in a work from home setting – miraculously finding more hours in the day and seeing their productivity soar, others, however, find no reprieve from the joys of home schooling and cannot wait to get back into the office. Regardless of your personal thoughts on the matter, the genie is out of the bottle and the hybrid, flexible work environment is here to stay.

I hope some of the readings in this edition help you to put your own plans together.

Please connect with the IML ANZ team and let us know what you need from us. We would love your feedback.

Be your best,

Marie-Louise Pearson OAM FIML Life

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