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Leading Edge: September introduction from John Withers CMgr FIML, Chair of the Board

Welcome to the September edition of Leading Edge.

As leaders maintaining positivity during what could be the most trying economic and social test of our lifetime is a tough task. However, when we encounter adversities beyond our control, a new outlook might just be what we need to keep ourselves in balance. Indeed, our response to situations that impact our teams and businesses can be one of the only things we can control as leaders.

Talking to my network of professional colleagues around Australia I recognise these challenges and impacts vary significantly and therefore influence how we need respond.  In Tasmania where I reside, I recognise from an external perspective it may seem that we have been largely spared from the more significant impacts of Covid19. However from my personal experience in managing my own team the impact of the pandemic is pervasive at many levels and continues to test and question my leadership approach almost on a daily basis.  I expect that will resonate with many of you.

This month, Chief Executive, David Pich MA (Cantab) FIML had the pleasure of speaking with one of the world’s leading experts in the field of positive psychology: Tal Ben-Shahar. Tal’s views on happiness rejects ideas that it is simply a superficial, fleeting joy. Instead, he discusses with David the science-based evidence of how a positive mindset can help lift the performance of leaders and their teams. I encourage you to read and reflect on the points made in the article that we’ve included in this edition of the Member newsletter alongside other highlights from across IML ANZ I recommend you explore this month.

Often our mindset determines how we handle situations. A positively focused mindset enables leaders to stay focused on ways to progress, to reach goals, be open to change and improve. Delving into the leadership mindset is one of the cornerstone learnings of our Intentional Leadership™: Foundations program. As the new cohorts begin next month, I urge you to think of a colleague, friend or team member who you feel would benefit from gaining a more profound mastery of the skills, attitudes and mindset that sets them on the path towards becoming an intentional leader.

Of course, improvement only comes after we’ve considered our previous actions and plan to do better in future. So the reflective process of becoming a Chartered Manager is a vital step for any manager looking to elevate their leadership ability. For Chartered Managers, the confidence that comes with their accreditation can be a real catalyst for building a positive leadership mindset. If you are thinking about the next step in your leadership journey, speak to the IML ANZ team to see if accreditation is the right move for you.

Another aspect of our professional lives that contributes to a positive mindset is our interaction with people. Connecting with peers is one way to receive support, even if it’s just through the exchange of ideas. Remember that as an IML ANZ Member you have access to complimentary events that aim to shed light on some of the most pressing topics in leadership today. For instance, we will be looking at trust and ethics, organisational culture and what leaders need to keep in mind while managing their businesses through a recession. As most of these events are held virtually, why not invite a friend or few?

Keeping a positive view amid challenges does not deny that tough times exist. Part of a leader’s task is to do everything we can to ensure our teams and organisations move forward, even if that might be at a slower pace than we are used to. Negativity depletes the energy required to achieve that goal.

Let us remain realistic but hopeful, cautious but driven and spread a bit of positivity whenever we can.

John Withers CMgr FIML

Chair of the Board

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