Transcript: Are Leaders Born or Trained (EP6)
Brendan Rogers: Hello, everybody. I’m Brendan Rogers, the host of The Culture of Things podcast and this is Episode 6. The focus of our show today is whether leaders are born or trained and there’s no better person to dive into this topic than a lady I recently met. Her name’s Melinda Reihberg. Melinda is the director and lead trainer of a leadership and sales training consultancy called All Trained Up. Melinda’s been a corporate trainer and facilitator for 18 years and has worked in many countries and across various industries including retail, travel, financial services and automotive. Some of her clients have included Ford, Holden, Volkswagen, Barbeques Galore, Myer and Harvey World Travel. Melinda’s on the other end of the line.
Thanks for joining us, Melinda. How are you?
Melinda Reihberg: Hi, Brendan. I’m very well. Thank you.
Brendan Rogers: It’s great to have you. Thanks for coming on to The Culture of Things podcast.
Melinda Reihberg: Oh, my pleasure.
Brendan Rogers: Melinda, I’ve given you a bit of an intro there. Do you want to just fill in a few gaps and maybe give us a bit of an overview of some key highlights in your journey and where that’s taken you so far?
Melinda Reihberg: Yeah, sure. I started out my career in the travel industry. I grew up with a passion for travel and always wanted to get into that side of things. So when I left school, I started working in a travel agency and I absolutely loved it. I loved not just the travel side of it, but just dealing with people. You know, I was communicating with so many different people from all walks of life, building relationships with them, getting to know them, you know, getting excited with them about their upcoming holiday and sharing that dream with them and being able to organise their, you know, their dream holiday. It was just so much fun. But what I found was as I developed my career, the better I was at being interested in people and developing those relationships, the more successful I became and the more sales I made.
And as I progressed, I was very good at what I did and I wanted to get into (the) management side of things. So when I was still in my mid-20s, I was promoted to a management position within the travel industry. And that’s where I found things started to get, let’s say, a lot more difficult for me because I was of the belief back then, you know, I was young, successful and I thought, well, why can’t I be a manager? Why can’t I get into leadership? It’s kind of something I’ve been striving for, working for. And because I’ve been so successful, I should be successful at the next milestone in my career. And you know, I was horribly wrong. It really affected me because the workplace that I was in, they didn’t really support me. I think they thought the same thing as me, that I should be a successful leader simply because I was a good sales person and it’s a completely different skill set.
So, I really struggled at my first time round in leadership. So, I decided then and there to go back and continue my studies and I did a business degree focusing on leadership skills and I really wanted to understand how to develop in that area and really enhance my career in leadership. And I guess as I continued on and I had that theory behind me as well as a little bit more life experiences I went through, I did get better with that side of things. And it eventually took me to wanting to be a trainer and help others in that journey as well because I recognise that I wasn’t the only person that was good at whatever they did in their position, in their job, you know, whether it be a good sales person or anything. And they felt that leadership is a bit of a natural progression and they’re not recognising the different skill set that was needed. So I wanted to help others that were in a situation similar to what I had been as well.
Brendan Rogers: It’s such a common story, isn’t it? Where people who have been great at their job and you know, they might’ve been very happy in their job and they’re not looking to go any further and all of a sudden they’re told, ‘You’re going to be a great leader’. And here you go, lead a team.
Unpack a little bit more so that experience that you had and you know, one of the phrases you use with your business is, “Great leaders aren’t born, they are all trained up”. So, you know, I know where you sit on the ‘Are leaders born or trained?’ question. Tell us a bit more and unpack a little bit more around that situation and what was it really that gave you that drive and a passion about, you know, setting up a business, creating an almost twenty-year journey for you about helping leaders.
Melinda Reihberg: Oh look, the fire in may came from just knowing how I felt as, you know, going from being really successful at what I did, really productive and essentially really motivated and happy into a position that I suddenly felt that I wasn’t equipped for, that I didn’t have the skill set and it was a real awakening for me. So, my fire comes from not wanting others to feel that way and just knowing that so many businesses out there are putting people into that situation every day. Businesses have an expectation on people that because they’ve been doing a role for so many years that they can put them into the next level, give them people to report to them, and expect them to know what to do. And because the business expects people to know what to do, that individual thinks that they should and they think that they’re a failure when they don’t necessarily fit naturally into the role of a leader.
So, I really just, you know, I started my business with the drive, thinking, you know, I know how it feels and I also know how it feels when you are equipped with leadership skills. You do feel that you’ve got the ability, you know how to motivate people that are working with you, you know how to inspire others. And it’s great to see how a business can thrive under great leadership. So I really just want to help as many people as I can understand that it’s okay if leadership skills don’t come naturally to you, you can learn them. Not only will it make you happier, more successful and productive in your role, but also of those around you. And it’s such a great feeling to think that you can be a positive role model and you can have a positive influence on other people and those that report to you.
Brendan Rogers: Let’s go down that path, Melinda. You know, around training, and I’ve seen it, it’s a really positive experience. Why do you think training is so important and in that training, let’s split it between hard and soft skills I suppose are the common terms. What are those key skills that you wish you had in those early times of learning a leadership role and being chucked into a leadership role?
Melinda Reihberg: First question, why is training so important? I think people are at the heart of every business’s success. And investing in your team’s development, you reap benefits to the bottom line, Staff retention, job satisfaction, you know, happier staff. Staff who are supported and given the opportunity to learn are more likely to remain with a business. Also, businesses really see increased customer satisfaction. So, from training, when staff are happier, more engaged and confident with their skills, they’re confident in their ability to do their job. The result is far superior customer service and a more innovative business as well because you can’t be innovative in today’s market if you’re not always looking to: how else can we refine, what else can we do differently. And really have people understand the importance of asking those questions of what else can we do? How else can we do this? How could we do things differently? We may be performing well, but could we find slight improvement somewhere? And always having the edge and that keen eye for improvement, I think, is so important. And obviously that leads to customer loyalty.
So, by delivering better customer service and sales, you are building on the satisfaction, the value of each and every customer. So, the behaviours are the skills that leaders need to be great leaders. There’s so many, but I think one of the most important things that a good leader has is a clear vision of where they want to go. The word leader kind of insinuates that you’ve got people following you and people will follow someone if they’re excited, they’re inspired by where they’re going and they paint a positive picture of the future and people want to get on board with that vision. So, a good leader has an exciting vision that people can buy into and they can see their role in it as well.
Brendan Rogers: Before you go into, I guess the other part, the question around, you know, is more of the hard and the soft skills that you wish you had and were supported in. We’ve both been in corporate roles over many years. So, I’m assuming, that means that you’ve been in a similar situation to me where you know, a company’s bottom line has come under pressure and the first thing they look at is training and say, we gotta cut all training. What would you say to those leaders out there that make those decisions around, “Hey stop all training. We need to cut costs.”
Melinda Reihberg: Yeah, well obviously, I think that’s a shortsighted mentality. I think by forgetting about, you know, the impact that has on people. If people in a business can’t see that their skills that they’ve got opportunity to develop their skills and continue to keep learning and it keeps them motivated, that’s going to have a detrimental impact on the bottom line as well. So, it might be a short-term game, but it’s probably going to have a longer-term impact on the business in multiple, different ways. All of those areas that I talked about, you know, staff productivity, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and it all flows on. If people are not engaged and people don’t feel that they’re being supported and their skill sets are being utilised and they’ve got an opportunity to keep developing those skill sets, it will affect the way that they engage with the business as a whole and engage with their customers and their productivity levels.
Brendan Rogers: Well said, Melinda. I think you may have delivered that speech a few times before. Am I right? (Both laughing)
Melinda Reihberg: Probably.
Brendan Rogers: To corporate leaders?
Melinda Reihberg: (Laughing) Well, it’s just something that I think, it’s common sense. I think it’s obvious. We see it all the time and we all know how we feel as an individual if we’re not being developed or our own potential is not given the opportunity to be expressed. We all know how that makes us feel and it’s common sense to think that that is going to impact the way that that individual performs their job. You know, everything to do with people’s performance and productivity obviously equates to the bottom line, eventually.
Brendan Rogers: Let’s go into the specific skills side so that, you know, again your business is training so you’re spending a lot of time with leaders and that leads on to some coaching and there’s an element of mentorship there depending on what the trainees are after. Let me push you on, you know, there’s lots of hard and soft skills that are needed to develop and to have a well-rounded leader. What would you say are the top three skills that you think a leader needs to have that really stands them in good stead for a successful leadership career?
Melinda Reihberg: I think they need to be able to lead by example. So, leaders need to be able to show, not just tell, you know, it’s the old, ‘You can talk the talk, but can you walk it?’ Sometimes, role modelling and just simply getting in and doing what it is that you expect from others is the easiest way to get them to perform in the way that you are wanting to get them to, you know, whatever their job role is.
Communication is such a big thing. Being able to communicate effectively as a leader obviously has huge impacts on people’s morale and just clear, concise communication so people understand what their expectations are.
And I think, delegation. I really think delegation is such a powerful tool for leaders to be able to do effectively and so many people that I’ve met throughout my working career and training career, are scared of delegation because they feel that it’s just dumping stuff onto the shoulders of somebody else that you’re not wanting to do yourself. And it’s not that way at all. Really effective delegation, if it’s done well, you can empower others. You can develop their skill sets and at the same time, yes you, you are freeing up your time as a leader to spend time on things that are probably more productive for you to be spending time on, but yeh, done well, it can have huge impacts on the team, productivity and morale.
Brendan Rogers: You started to dive a little bit into delegation there, so let’s unpack that one a little bit first. What is it about delegation and how do you train and help leaders understand the right way to delegate?
Melinda Reihberg: I always talk about delegation as a step-by-step process. Delegation is not a one-size-fits-all. It’s not something that you can say to somebody here, “I’m just going to delegate this task to you, off you go”. Some people might need more support depending what it is. I always say to leaders, “Delegate the tasks that you need to delegate and there might be some mundane, boring things that not everybody wants to do in that, but that’s a necessity as a leader. But, take the time and have the thought around trying to delegate jobs that will inspire others and help grow their confidence and develop their skills as well. So, it might be things that yes, it could be quicker in the short-term to do yourself, but in the long-term, not only are you freeing up your time or you might not be freeing up your time initially, it might take you longer to go through and explain to somebody else how to do it. So it is a long-term. Delegation is very much a, you need to have a long-term focus on it. But by doing that and giving out some of the more exciting tasks that you have as a leader, you are showing people that you’re trying to develop them because good leaders develop other good leaders.”
They want to see others reach their potential. And you can’t reach your potential if you’re held back and you’re not continually trying to exceed yourself and put yourself out there and learn new things. And delegation is one of those things that I’m like genuinely so passionate about and see such a huge potential in.
Brendan Rogers: As you said, delegation is really so important and it’s probably not something that’s always done that well with leaders, again, through potential lack of training and understanding. How about you explain what delegation isn’t to help leaders understand that as well?
Melinda Reihberg: Well, delegation, it definitely, it isn’t just like I was saying before, it isn’t just dumping the stuff onto somebody else that you’re not willing to do yourself as a leader. Look, I have seen this and it’s definitely a negative trait of some managers and I do use the term manager and leader differently because I think they’re different. They have slightly different meanings and so, I would say it’s more of a manager style to delegate ineffectively, which would be, “Great. I’m in this role now, I have people reporting to me so I don’t need to do X, Y, and Z tasks anymore. I can put them onto my team because I’m a manager.” So, delegation isn’t a way of offloading unpleasant tasks onto somebody else who is lower, let’s say in the so-called ‘hierarchy’ of the business.
Brendan Rogers: Yeah. So it’s not an opportunity to just dump stuff on people that either you don’t like them or you don’t like the task.
Melinda Reihberg: Yes.
Brendan Rogers: You mentioned about the difference between leadership and, or the connotation around leadership and management being slightly different. You want to just give us a bit of a brief explanation for you about the differences of those two things?
Melinda Reihberg: To me, I equate leadership to people, it’s very much the ‘people side’ of the business. It is the learning how to communicate effectively with different types of people. It’s about being able to adjust your style and personality to suit the different members of your team and it’s about just having the awareness that you do need to adjust. A good leader isn’t a one-size-fits-all. We have to adjust our style in different ways, you know, depending on the needs and the personalities of the people that you have in your team. And I equate management to more the ‘business side’ of things. So, that might be looking at the nuts and bolts of the business. So, everything to do with the business apart from the people. But obviously, you can’t have a successful business without both of those things, but particularly, look after your people and people will look after the bottom line. It’s as simple as that.
Brendan Rogers: Absolutely. So really, if I’m understanding that, it’s, you know, leadership around the people and focusing on the people and managing is more about the task and again, the leadership roles have a combination of those, but it’s really making sure that the focus on the people is first and foremost and the people will help you manage the task better if they’re looked after.
Melinda Reihberg: Exactly.
Brendan Rogers: Let’s go back to the first one you mentioned ‘cause I think again, we just dove into delegation because you started to dive into that a little bit. But that first one you mentioned, “Lead by example”. A lot of leaders out there are challenged by, I think they, some people go more by the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do,” which is a real problem in leaders and backs up the whole thing, lead by example. How do you help leaders understand this concept of leading by example and helping them, coaching them through that so they’re doing that consistently?
Melinda Reihberg: I’ll give you a really basic example of something that I did recently. I was called into a particular business. I was there for a week, working in the business with them. I was doing some leadership, one-on-one training with a few of the managers within this business. Just helping them with some ideas for being more productive and basically improving their customer experience survey results. One of the things that I noticed really early on in my visit was just the state of the business. It wasn’t as clean as it could be. It just had an air of, I suppose, laziness to it, that people didn’t really care about their environment and they weren’t paying attention to the little details. And to me, that speaks volumes because when a customer walks into that business, if I can walk into the business and notice that, well, chances are your customers are going to walk in and notice it as well.
And if you walk into a business that looks like they lack attention to detail and they don’t really care about their working environment, how does the customer translate that? They translate that to: “Well, gee. Can I trust you with what I’m paying you to do? Will you have attention to detail with the work that I’m paying you for?” So, it has some huge consequences. So, I had this chat to the manager early on, just explaining to him, you know, “We really need to look at some basics here around just how do we maximise the environment. You know, there’s only so much that you can do, but we can make it cleaner and tidier.” So, his first reaction to that was to basically, and you know, this is an extreme example, but it’s real and it’s happening out there in businesses, he claps his hands and summons a lower staff member and tells him to start cleaning up.
And I said, “Hey, why don’t we just get in and do it because we’ve got 10 minutes now? Why don’t we just do this?” And then that’s going to send a much clearer message and it’s going to be a lot louder than verbally asking somebody else to do it. So, we did. We got in and did a few things. We swept the floor, we tidied up, we cleaned the front mat where customers are walking in and out of, and I got a pot plant. I dragged the pot plant from out the back and I said, “Hey, let’s put it at the front door”. The reaction from staff, not just because the place looked nicer, but because we did it, the next day when I walked in, I walked into a staff member with the broom in his hand and doing exactly the same thing that we had done the day before. And I checked and nobody had asked him to do that. He did that of his own accord. That’s probably six months ago. And I still have contact with that business. And that’s still happening.
The way that we got that business looking at the end of my initial visit, they’ve kept it up and they’ve been happy to do it. And I put it down to one of the simplest things was that we got in and demonstrated what we’re wanting to do and that we’re not, you know, if we can get in and do it, well, so can others. And people respond differently when they are asked to do something and they’ve already seen you do it, you know, it’s like saying, “A little humility goes a long way”.
Brendan Rogers: Absolutely. And look, it’s a great example, you know, such a simple example but powerful in that, you know, that lead by example. And so really, what I guess summing that up for me and what I took away from what you’re saying is, there was a you know, some acknowledgement of the fact that something needed to change”. And that was true, some survey results. And a really good example again of “Culture is a reflection of leadership”. You had the conversation that you needed to have and just get people to look at it a little bit differently and actually do something about it. And the leader, starting that process and that can basically flow on through a chain reaction, which seems to have happened. And it sounds like it’s a sustainable chain reaction.
Melinda Reihberg: It really is. Yeah, it was. It’s amazing how such one simple thing and the impact that it’s actually had. And I think one of the reasons may be because they were so surprised to see this particular manager/leader at the time, you know, getting in and do that. And I think they were so impressed because it probably wasn’t within his style prior. So, that was a big leadership lesson for him. If you expect somebody else to do it, don’t be afraid to get in first and demonstrate that.
Brendan Rogers: Let’s go into the second point you mentioned which was communication, you know, clear and concise communication. It’s a bit of an old chestnut, I think. It’s just, communication comes up all the time. So what is it about communication? What is it that people aren’t getting and how do you help them get it?
Melinda Reihberg: Oh look, I think good communication skills, you know, it’s a two-way street, isn’t it? You can’t have good communication skills without good listening skills. So, you need to be open to other people’s perspectives, points of view, thoughts or, you know, concerns around something. So, good leaders don’t purely communicate their vision. They ask the question: What do you think? How do you think we could do it better? How do you think I could do better? So, it’s very much, yeah, that two-way street of finding solutions together, working together to solve issues or come up with new ideas, come up with new ways of doing things. Good leaders, as well with our communication. Know that different people will have different communication styles. And, they might need to adjust the way they style with different personalities in the team and just have that understanding of who their personalities are, who their people are, what’s important to them, what are they passionate about.
You know, good communication skills can even just come down to just understanding your people, know what’s important in their life and sometimes be able to get them talking about that too and build that rapport. You know, one of my biggest lessons, I think, from you know, going back to when I first started my career in the travel industry and I talked about building relationships with people, building relationships with my customers. The better the relationship I built, as I said, the more successful I became and the more sales I made. And one of the keys with that, with building relationships was building rapport. Because people buy from people that they like and you tend to like people. It’s a little bit easier to like someone if you feel that you are kind of on the same wavelength, you’re on the same page, you’ve got something in common.
And when I moved into leadership, I didn’t have the immediate success that I imagined I would because I didn’t see that connection either between you know, what made a good sales person with relationships and rapport. Well, actually, if I had translated a lot of that into leadership, I would have been more successful quicker because with leadership, you know, you’re not trying to get your team to buy something from you, but you certainly need their buy in. You need them to buy into you and what your vision is for that business and that team. People will buy into something if you take the time with your communication and you do build rapport and get to know people and you ask them questions about them and what’s important to them. And you know, one of the most daunting questions that you can ask in a leadership position is, “How would you rate me as your team leader? How would you rate me as your manager?” It could be as simple as, “Hey, rate me out of 10.” Depending on what the response is, let’s say it’s a 7 or an 8 or might be a 5, but whatever the case may be, “Okay, great. Thanks for your honesty. What do I need to do in your mind to be a 10?”
And when you ask people that question, you’re demonstrating quite a few things. You are demonstrating that humility. You’re demonstrating the fact that, “I know I’m not perfect, and my leadership success depends on the people in my team and it depends on us being able to work together. And I can’t do that as well if I don’t know what you need from me.” So, however you communicate that to your team, that it’s important you wanting to understand things from their perspective, you’re wanting to understand what they would like or need from you. All of that is good communication and they’re important questions. They’re important discussions to be had.
Brendan Rogers: As you were talking, it reminded me of so many things where, you know, you talked about personality profile and communication styles. We had in Episode 2 Laura Prael on, who was, you know, she’d had some experience with this. She’s a client of mine and she talked about that and the impacts and the improvement had on her team. And talking to her, another guest, Martin West, a couple of episodes ago, Episode 4 – Part 1 and 2, we went right into feedback and the importance of that. And I was just having a conversation with a sales leader just the other day. And you alluded to this as well, where you know, he started as a startup and his name’s Scotty and he grew a trillion dollar, basically a trillion dollar business. He talked about, you know, at a point, you are the sales person when you’re growing the business. But at a point in time, as you become the leader, you become, you’re selling to the team. You know, you’re selling a belief to them, a vision. And it’s their job to then sell to the clients. So, it’s real. I’d never looked at it like that, but it just gave me such a different perspective. And you’ve just touched on it so. So, thanks for reiterating that point. I really appreciate it.
Melinda, let’s go into the challenges. You know, life’s not all rosy. We know that, particularly in the training world and in the corporate spaces that we’ve spent some time in. So, how about you cast the mind back, think a little bit about maybe there’s some of the challenges you’ve had with corporate leaders and in these training environments. ‘Cause I know I’ve done corporate training, I’ve been on both sides of the fence and there’s always those one or two people in there that just don’t want to be there.
Melinda Reihberg: You know, I love that challenge because I love finding out why they don’t want to be there, what it is about the training that they feel is not beneficial to them. Because what makes training lack the benefits that it can have is when people just themselves don’t see the value in it. And that mindset has a powerful impact on how successful the training is for them. If people are just there because maybe they’ve been told they have to go, their mind is closed, they’re not open to, you know, the possibilities that could be in front of them.
Training is so powerful, not just to be there and you know, hear whatever skill sets are being talked about in the training course and how it translates into different businesses and how to give people a chance to practice and role play and you know, put those new skills into practice. It’s great opportunities to just get together and brainstorm between each other, whether it’s brainstorming with people that you work with or I run public workshops as well. So, it’s people that have never met before and they’re talking to people from different industries, you know, completely different types of businesses. But they’re all there learning the skills of leadership and they can talk about what it means in different contexts. And you know, sometimes, it’s amazing to be able to hear a different perspective or a different take of how somebody can take one skill and how it translates into their world as opposed to your world.
The thing that stifles that creativity and that brainstorming is people there that have the wrong mindset, that just aren’t seeing training as the opportunity. And I think that’s, it’s one of the most frustrating things for me when somebody says to me, “Oh, I don’t need training. I’ve been doing this job for 20 years, or 5 years, or 10 years, whatever the case may be”. I’ve heard that so often. I always think, well, if we look at that in a different context, you know, think about it from in the sporting world. Do people become elite athletes or get accepted into the Olympics and then say, “Well, I don’t need to train. I’m, you know, I’m an elite athlete. I’m one of the world’s best. Why would I need to train?” That’s when they ramp up their training. And business should be the same.
Leadership skills, all of these things that have huge impacts on your success, on the business success, on the sales, the profitability, the longevity of the business. Yet, there are certain people that get to that point of doing it for so many years and think they can’t do it better.
We can always learn. We can always do things in a different way to get a maybe a slightly different result that’s even better than the results that we had last week or last year or whenever the case. So, it’s just the mindset. Good leaders have the mindset that they’re open to new ideas, they’re open to new possibilities and whether it comes from the trainer or from one of the other participants in the training workshop, it’s great just to get together and share those ideas and brainstorming. It’s amazing what you can come up with. You know, you hear so many analogies behind it.
You know, somebody once said to me, “I don’t want to invest in training because, you know, what if they leave, you know, in a couple of years, and I’ve invested all this money.” And the question that was posed to them was: “What if you don’t invest in training and they don’t leave, you’ve got them there long-term and you’re not developing their skill sets?” And imagine that, like the sporting analogy that I used, you wouldn’t succeed. You wouldn’t have long-term success for sure.
Brendan Rogers: Loving sport myself. I think it’s a fantastic sporting analogy that you raised. And again, when I hear those, I guess that phrase or those words, you know, “I don’t need training”. I think, to me, that’s actually the reason why they need training.
Does leadership change across countries? In your experience, what are the differences or similarities that you’ve seen in your time?
Melinda Reihberg: Culture does play a part in leadership. Different cultures place different emphasis on what makes a good leader. So, in the countries that I’ve worked with, very similar to our Australian culture, so I wouldn’t say there’s too much variation. There’s basically, you know, you could say very generally, there’s two types of cultures and they will impact the perception of a leader and their role and how they deem it appropriate to interact with people. And there’s egalitarian cultures and there’s hierarchical cultures.
If there’s any people that are currently in a leadership position, it’s a good question to ask, “Do you have people within your team that come from different cultures? Does that impact how you would lead them? Does that impact the style of leadership? Should you be adjusting your style to suit different cultural backgrounds that you have within your team?” And the answer is yes.
It really should be a strong consideration for people because it does impact, again, how people will respond and their overall success in their role. You know, from my experience, you see more egalitarian cultures, which, you know, I think we would fall into, do tend to prefer self-direction, minimal guidance. So, they wouldn’t like micromanaging, for example, they like flexibility in their roles. They feel that it’s acceptable to challenge authority and ask questions. And I think a good leader should encourage people to ask questions and to challenge them and say, “Hey look, this is my perspective. This is what I’m thinking. But tell me if you disagree, tell me if you think otherwise”. I think it’s always good to have that ability to say, “Hey, let me know if there’s something that I’m saying that you’re questioning or you don’t necessarily agree with”. Whereas in the more hierarchical cultures, they take and expect more clear guidance from superiors. They like clearly-defined roles with boundaries and limitations. They’re less likely to challenge those people in power and they’re more likely to have enforced regulations and guidelines.
So, there are differences in cultures within that respect. Yes, certainly. And it’s something to think about if you do have a multicultural team.
Brendan Rogers: Yeah. Once again, it’s a great contrast because talking to a client or a couple of clients the other day and one of them has Singaporean origins and has been in Australia for 10 years and we did actually ask that question ‘cause we’re going through some feedback that they’d received and she talked about how she had to change her style and adapt because she comes from Singapore and it was, you know, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Singapore over the years and it’s very much that Tell/Do environment. Whereas, that didn’t work so well when she came to Australia so she quickly had to adjust and she still has some challenges by her own admission. But you know, she’s really turned that corner and she’s finding much better results for her and her team into how her business is going by adapting herself, which is, you know, quite a skill for a leader to do.
What impact are you trying to have here? What are you striving for in this leadership space? How are you trying to make this whole world and leadership space a different and improved world?
Melinda Reihberg: Good leadership or poor leadership, you have an impact on people, a huge impact on people. I’ve seen so much low morale, anxiety, mental health issues from people in the workplace because of poor leadership, because the people that they report to don’t treat them well, don’t inspire them, don’t provide the direction that they need. You know, it has a huge impact on their life. They take it home into their personal life and it’s difficult to escape from. So, I’m really wanting to help people understand if you are in a leadership position, understand that just purely in that position, you are impacting those around you and you can have a hugely inspiring, positive impact or you can have quite a negative impact on somebody’s entire life and it can go and it can be with them for a long time. So, I think, use that position for benefit because if you look after people and you consider their needs, they will look after the business too. You know, it’s very difficult to run a successful, profitable business with people that are not motivated and they’re dissatisfied in the work that they do. The two just don’t correspond. There’s a direct correlation between people’s satisfaction and their productivity levels.
Brendan Rogers: Probably the most important question in this interview, Melinda, I need to ask you. We’ve had another special guest on the podcast and that’s your barking dog in the background.
Melinda Reihberg: Aw, sorry. Yes.
Brendan Rogers: What’s the dog’s name?
Melinda Reihberg: My lovely barking dog is named Ruby and she’s a rescue dog. She’s been with us now for about, oh probably 10 months, but she’s still learning, learning how to live like a normal dog and you know, enjoy the comforts of a home. (Laughing)
Brendan Rogers: That’s fair.
Melinda Reihberg: She does play up sometimes.
Brendan Rogers: We embrace these things on The Culture of Things podcasts and well done on taking on a rescue dog. How can listeners get hold of you?
Melinda Reihberg: I do have a business website alltrainedup.com.au so, and that’s got all my details on it as well. There’s a couple of free guides that you can download, just some tips on how to be a more effective leader. So feel free to download any of the content there and there’s quite a few blogs that I’ve written about a lot of the things even that we’ve talked about today.
Brendan Rogers: I really appreciate you taking the time and to Ruby, thank you very much for coming on The Culture of Things podcast. You’ve got fantastic experience and training in that corporate sector. It’s not not an easy space. Again, there’s a number of challenges there but it sounds like you certainly have done some fantastic work and I look forward to hearing more about your journey in the future. Thanks again for coming on The Culture of Things podcast.
Melinda Reihberg: Thanks, Brendan. And Ruby says thanks too.
Brendan Rogers: Thank you Ruby.
Brendan Rogers: When talking with Melinda, I can hear the passion in her voice when she talks about training leaders and helping them improve. I’ve never been in one of her sessions, but based on our conversation and the fact that Melinda is so easy to talk to and knowledgeable in this area, I’m sure they would be very engaging for the trainees. Her impact on the businesses she has worked with over the last 20 years would have made a real improvement to the leadership capabilities of those organisations. After all, you don’t spend much time as a corporate trainer in companies like Ford, Holden, Volkswagen, or Myer if you aren’t getting results.
These were my three key takeaways from my chat with Melinda:
Firstly, leaders must lead by example. Melinda used the example of a leader in an organisation who she was able to encourage to do something as simple as cleaning the area and sweeping the floor. It was a really basic example, but it really sets the scene for leaders. You need to set the standard and lead by example. As she says, something like this does require a little humility, but a little humility goes a long way.
My second key takeaway – delegation is a must-have skill to develop for a leader. It’s not an opportunity to dump work that a leader either doesn’t like doing or on a person they don’t like. It’s an opportunity to coach and develop people. In my mind, it makes perfect sense for delegation to be a critical skill. Given that the priority of a leader is to help people in their team improve and delegation done effectively will help achieve that.
My third key takeaway – training leaders is critical to the success of a business. Melinda used the analogy of an Olympic athlete. They don’t reach the Olympics and stop training. If anything leading up to it, they ramp up their training to make sure they are right at the top of their game.
She also mentioned how a leader’s mindset has a powerful impact on how successful a training can be. Good leaders have the mindset that are open to new ideas and new possibilities. At the end of the day, if you are a leader and you aren’t open to improving, you shouldn’t be leading.
So in summary, leaders must lead by example. Delegation is a must-have skill to develop. And training leaders is critical to the success of a business.
If you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again, thank you for listening.
Stay safe. Until next time.
Outtro (music): Thank you for listening to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. Please visit brendanrogers.com.au to access the show notes. If you love The Culture of Things podcast, please subscribe, rate and give a review on Apple podcasts and remember a healthy culture is your competitive advantage.