Leadership Learning Forum – State Library of Victoria – Marianne Broadbent

I was fortunate enough to attend the most recent of these annual events, with guest speaker Marianne Broadbent.  She was a very thought provoking speaker. Hope you get as much out of my notes as I did from attending the session.

Marianne Broadbent – Implementing 21st Leadership at Multiple Levels

Good skills to have are good general knowledge and curiosity – be a general busybody, but in a good way.

What are your capabilities? Many of us underplay our strengths. Be good at key things and just good enough at the rest. And then how do you manage your weaknesses – get the right skills around you.

Pragmatic, informed and sustainable leadership begins with understanding yourself and leading yourself. Know what your strengths, what people think of you and how you relate to people. Do you give feedback and how? Leadership operates in multiple layers – self, team and organisation.

What is leadership to you? Who is someone you have worked with showed real leadership and how was that obvious to you? Showed vision, took responsibility, list: empowers staff, trust, courage, fairness, seeing obstacles as opportunities, open to input, knows their limitations and will seek input, humour, decisive, approachable, calm, valuing everyone, emotional intelligence, consistent, supportive, innovative, available, respectful, clear communicator, integrity, enthusiasm, passion, fun, autonomy, mentoring, listen, ambitious for the organisation, self-development, self-awareness.

Our expectations of leaders are quite high. No-one, neither our leaders nor us as leaders meet these all. What things on this list do you exemplify? Each of us have qualities that others value. The things we do well we should work with – choose roles that work to your strengths, whilst still continuing to bolster your weaknesses. Do what makes you happy and only take jobs that will.

Leadership operates at multiple levels and multiple layers and is what others expect of us….

Leadership = Imagination + Courage. Paul Keating.

Executive capabilities graph – move from execution and delivery, through management to leadership and direction. You don’t have to be smart about everything for which you are responsible, you just have to know enough and get it done through people.

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Delegation is a critical skill. Delegate, know what is happening, but let them do it.

It’s about trust and letting go.

Leadership expectations shift – need to understand the context, the organisational and people environments.

What matters now are diverse experience, curiosity, knowing yourself and have the ability to deal with ambiguity and change. Diverse experience gives you many more works to draw from in your work experiences.

Passion and curiosity will get you a long way – intelligence alone is not enough.

Know and work with the dynamics of your emotional intelligence (see below). More powerful as a leader if you are in touch with your feelings but not over expressive, have good impulse control. Emotional intelligence improves over time. Understand your own emotional intelligence quotient.

Emotional intelligence quotient

Emotional intelligence quotient


In last five years, dealing with ambiguity and change has been a key requirement for staff. The world is ever changing, so business and operating model swell continue to evolve.

In the next few years the important things will be dealing with generational differences, giving and receiving constructive feedback, ability to recognise an effective and collegial team. How do you work with Millennials? Do we invite feedback as well as give it? You have to be in touch with your team regularly – not just at appraisal time.

Think of a successful team that you were part of – what made it successful and how can you bring those qualities to your current team.

Business cycles require different behaviours and capabilities. The four cycles are:

  • exploitation – growth,
  • conservation – balance,
  • release – crises or opportunities,
  • renewal – transformation.

This ongoing and each stage requires different capabilities. Some leaders can’t adjust to this change and need to move out of the way or move on. Need to be able to identify, adjust and then help others to do so.

What has been your best experience of teamwork? Why did it work so well? What was different about it from other experiences? List: common goal with clear vision, people wanted to be there, focused, make things possible, fun, more relaxed, you achieve something, challenging, passion, brought different qualities and skills, empowered, adaptable, opportunity to celebrate, ownership, shared responsibility, using existing strengths, learning from mistakes, risk taking, good communication, transparency of roles and could learn from each other, have to trust each other, safe and respectful environment, appreciation for diversity, shared mindset, pride in the work and working together, mix of skills, reflection, not waiting to be invited, willing to contribute, bringing others along, working with different personalities, openness and sharing.

Four disciplines of a healthy organisation:

  1. Build a cohesive leadership team,
  2. Create clarity – why are we here,
  3. Over communicate clarity,
  4. Reinforce clarity.

What methods do we use and reuse to do this. What recognition do you provide – there are many ways that don’t involve money, such as acknowledgement.

Know the five common team dysfunctions – absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, in attention to results. Need to particularly focus on building trust in your team. What you do is go first, mine for conflict, force clarity and closure, confront difficult issues, focus on collective outcomes.

Building a robust enabling team, acknowledge that this is hard work, understand what you really need and why, get the raw material in pace ( people), work on what makes teams effective, visualise your team needs and potential.

Identify one professional achievement that you have had in the past three years. When sharing your achievements first share what you achieved and then share why it was important and how you got there.

It’s not only about execution, but about positioning. Need to be able to demonstrate our own self-regard. People want to be led by people who believe in themselves. There needs to be a balance so that it doesn’t cross the line into arrogance.

Hints for leading yourself –

  1. Reflect on your real attributes and play to your strengths
  2. Figure out the trade-offs you are comfortable with … Don’t do guilt. Make a choice then adjust as needed.
  3. Accept responsibility for your own development … Invest in it. No-one else cares as much about it as you do. They only help to help themselves.
  4. Build a good network – that you can go to and get good support from
  5. Assume good intent on the part of others…. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  6. If you are not growing then move on.
  7. Be careful of what you want – greater visibility = greater vulnerability.
  8. Look after you physical and spiritual self…. It does matter.
  9. Remember that you are always marketing yourself…
  10. Know and be able to articulate your own story – at any time.

If you don’t enhance your own leadership, you can’t effectively lead teams or organisations.

Leadership is as much about how leaders deal with themselves as it is about how we work with and lead others.