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Transcript: How a Leaders Motive Impacts Team Dynamics (EP20)

 

Intro (with music): Welcome to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. This is a podcast where we talk all things, culture, leadership and teamwork across business and sport.

 

Hello, everybody. I'm Brendan Rogers, the host of The Culture of Things podcast. And this is Episode 20. Today, I'm speaking with Tracey Dean. Tracey is the Owner and Director of BTS Accounting Services on the Central Coast with over 25 years experience in the finance world. She's very passionate about the continual improvement of the accounting and finance functions in organisations and using this information for improving the strategic business decision-making process.

Tracey started her corporate career with McDonald's Australia where she worked for 12 years as a Corporate Accountant and Tax Manager. Before going back into her Accounting Consultancy which she's been involved in for 10 years, Tracey also spent 3 years as the Chief Financial Officer for a K-12 Independent School.

I often refer to Tracey as a ‘human-centred accountant’. Why? Because she is one of the few accountants I know, or have met, that honestly put people first. With this focus, and it's only natural that she builds strong and trusted professional relationships with her clients. And is a fantastic leader of people.

The focus of our conversation today is how a leader's motive impacts Team Dynamics.

Tracey, welcome to The Culture of Things podcast.

Tracey Dean: Thank you, Brendan. That was a lovely introduction.

Brendan Rogers: My pleasure, Tracey. Now, I know this is not the most comfortable experience for you. How are you feeling about this interview?

Tracey Dean: A little bit nervous as you know. (Laughing)

Brendan Rogers: I'm sure you’ll do...

Tracey Dean: But all good and excited as well.

Brendan Rogers: Absolutely. You will do a fantastic job, I'm sure. Some great information to share. Tracey, again, I've given a bit of an intro for you. Is there some gaps you want to fill in, particularly around your journey? What's taking you back into your business now and some of that leadership experiences and motivations for you?

Tracey Dean: Yeah. Thanks Brendan. I think you've hit it there with the passion that I have actually, not just for the number side of it, but also for people and helping people. And where I see that I add value is actually within the numbers, giving them that information that allows them to improve and grow their businesses. But also, I definitely have a passion to help people, make people happy. That's what I am about.

Brendan Rogers: That passion, Trace. ‘Cause that's, again, I term that motivation and the motivation around leadership. What is it around leadership that gives you that passion? What do you enjoy about it so much?

Tracey Dean: I enjoy seeing people happy and where I mean that is that they're enjoying particularly around their business’ life and work-life environment, that they're enjoying coming to work, or they're enjoying what they're doing within their business and they're giving it everything that they've got, knowing that I can support them, not only just from the accounting side of it, when you say human-centred, I do like to think that I'm there to actually listen to what their whole story is about and their journey and be part of that journey for them, not just from the accounting side of it and help where I can, particularly around the leadership. I have had experience with leading teams. And I feel that, or particularly going back into my business now, I've seen that a major benefit is to also talking to the CEOs and business owners as to how that can also help their team and create that environment for them to make sure their employees are happy.

Brendan Rogers: So, with that, Tracey, and leadership and your motivation around helping people, when you relate that to your experience, what sort of behaviours does that bring out in you around being a leader of people and how you interact with your team?

Tracey Dean: Definitely, kindness is top of list for me, compassion and honesty. Trust is also something that I found is a tricky one to develop within teams. However, the culture within an organisation, going right back to my McDonald's days, I think, when we spoke earlier, how an employee can feel valued within that organisation, whether they're at the top of the leaders or one of the top of the leaders running the organisation or wherever they are within there, I feel is critical. And it's not only just words that that leader portrays. It's actually the actions that follow through. And when they've said that they're actually going to do something in whether it's been an all staff meeting or you're hearing it from your manager that might be five steps down from that in that larger corporation, you actually see that happening and you actually feel that there's happiness within that work environment. And I feel that is a key element as to what I think is behaviour for a good leader. Definitely came through for me and also feeling valued as an employee. So, definitely, for me, at the top of my list is to make sure they feel valued and feel that they are being heard and that they are contributing to what the mission of the organisation is.

Brendan Rogers: You, as a leader and leading a team, how do you create that environment where people are feeling valued?

Tracey Dean: I definitely try to invest the time with each and every one of them, the team, whether that's who you're leading with or that they may be leading other people as well and give that input to them as well, that I feel it's very important as everybody's a unique individual. Everybody's got their own strengths and weaknesses, making sure that you spend time to understand what they are about as an individual, what makes them excited about coming to work, what are their issues that they may have at work and how also I can collaborate within a team because there's different types of personalities. And I think that's also at times whilst the person that you might have similar personalities, but they're all going through different experiences at different times. So, their journey for one another trying to collaborate and the timing of when everybody might be right to move towards a certain task or a priority may have as a team is trying to bring that altogether. That's probably where I found it was a challenge. However, a challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed because seeing there's nothing better than seeing the smiles on people's faces and them passionate as well towards what you're trying to achieve.

Brendan Rogers: Sounds like there's a really great example in that. And I'm going to put that to you just so people can really comprehend what you're talking about there. ‘Cause it's a really important point. Tell us a little bit generically around a situation like that, where you've, you know, you've had to deal with those different levels of engagement, we could say. You know, people are at different spaces at different times. Can you share a bit more on that and what that looks like and how you navigate that situation?

Tracey Dean: It’s definitely tricky. And I don't think, I think everybody that's to approach that is unique in itself. I found it very challenging. It was through actually leading teams with Tim Ferguson that we went through with an organisation and I found that that experience invaluable, very challenging. And I think that really for me, and even hearing your podcast with him the last few weeks, it was reflective for me because it was, “Okay, how did I react in those situations?”

And I think one of the key things is being able to be adaptive within change. By saying adaptive, is an organisation goes through many changes, you've got your strategic plan and you've got your goals that you're trying to do and priorities. However, day-to-day functions and experiences or events that may happen can change that and change the plan. So, to have a team that is on the same path and aligned with what your strategic vision is generally can bring that back in.

However, I found as an example, there were people at different levels at, I guess, being open and honest about where they're at within the organisation. That definitely impacted the team. That challenge to me was I was at that stage with one of them was being very honest and open because I was trying to feel that the way I felt it could move ahead was if everybody got that honesty out and everything was laid on the table, we could deal with those issues. And in a respectful way, that's definitely one of the things to definitely gotta be careful and be led by your leader as to how, and timing that that would actually happen, those conversations to happen. Because they're easy to say to have a conversation, but once you're involved in that conversation, it’s quite difficult. And I think if you provide that supportive environment and perhaps a supportive person, that's also, you feel trust already with, I think that definitely leads to improvement across the conversation.

Brendan Rogers: Trust - you've mentioned a couple of times, and again, you referred back to an earlier episode we did with Tim Ferguson. Where does the challenge sit in this building trust? ‘Cause it's such a simple word. The application can be quite challenging. You've lived and breathed that. Where do those challenges sit for you?

Tracey Dean: I think the transparency that you can show as a leader. I know with my teams that when I was leading over the years, it was just being open with them, being honest. They being vulnerable and that they can see some of the challenges that you face and being able to allow them to have that conversation with you. And I think once again, it's that investing time in people, you know, there's challenges within that as well. I definitely go emotional level. So, at times, I think, and I've been given feedback that, you know, I take on too much to personally. And whilst I accept that’s right, that is who I am. I still, to this day, even taking on the new clients, when I see that they've got challenges facing them, I'm, “How can I help?” You know, “What can I support? How can I support? What value can I add to that?”

Not just from the accounting side, is it that they need just to check in every, you know, once a week, once a month, what is that? I try and work with the individuals as well as teams. So, it's an individual-basis that you're investing within those people so that they feel that trust that they can then come collectively together within a team and environment of a team to work together and have those conversations again, within that environment, feel safe, that they'll be heard and also, but also be a respectful way of them hearing feedback if that’s the case.

Brendan Rogers: Patrick Lencioni, one of the guys I follow a lot, wrote a fantastic book called The Motive and he refers to responsibility-based leadership versus reward-based leadership. I would term you very much a responsibility-centred leader. You know, you're really putting people first as we've said, and you make decisions about what's best for the people, but you've also had experience where maybe a leader’s motive has been more selfish, a bit more reward-centred. Can you talk about how that has impacted or your experience of seeing that and how that's impacted on behaviours and decisions that the leaders made and then how that's impacted on the team?

Tracey Dean: Yeah, I guess every leader is different and I've experienced across a wide range of leaders. Been lucky in a lot of respects because I've had great leaders and great inspiration. I've taken a lot in my experiences over my 25 years in my business life. I feel very lucky in a lot of regards and that's helped shape who I am now and led me into where I'm going at the moment with my business. When I feel that I think at times it can, there's a fine line possibly between rewards and responsibility within that leadership type. I feel where the rewards sort of basis would be, it can hinder the team than being open and honest with that leader and the trust, I feel dissipates. It doesn't, you know, there's not as much trust because it's why, or you start to question, what are the motives?

I think that's probably the biggest thing rather than questioning at what not having questions is. Why are you doing something necessarily? It's just, you question that without, rather than being on the same page in what you thought was aligned to what the vision of the organisation's vision is. I feel that's where the trust, once the trust is broken, I think that's where the teams, the conversations aren't there to be, had to be transparent about what people are feeling, which then, if you leave a meeting, for instance, you're going on different paths, you're sort of heading towards the same outcome, but in different ways, you're not necessarily got that clarity around what is trying to be achieved. I think that's where it sometimes in that particular leadership role would be a negative towards the team and then flow on effect to culture within the organisation.

Brendan Rogers: What does that flow on effect look like?

Tracey Dean: I think that then the doubt that then may come into the managers take that away from those meetings when that happens. And you can say, I've also been on both ends with that, is that there's doubt within the message that's delivered and it's not consistent across them, the managers. So, the employees that then talk to one another are getting inconsistencies as to where they feel the organisation is going or where they, how they're valued as an employee of that organisation. I feel that's probably been the experience I've felt over the years.

Brendan Rogers: You've also had some really good experience around understanding personalities. How much, in your opinion, and just having lived and breathed that sort of stuff as well, does personality have on the style of a leader and the impact that a leader can have both on a negative or in hopefully, a positive way?

Tracey Dean: Yeah. No, I think I try and look at the positive of most things and each individual’s personality. There’s no one can say to one another, you know, each other, “Your personality is not right. Change it.” I don't think that's definitely not the answer. It's actually identifying what that personality is within each member of the team or particularly the leader and adapting ways and learning how to adapt your behaviour to work with that person. Even though it might be a different personality to you, that strength that then comes from that mixing with a different personality, such as an eagle versus a dove. I think it's a great balance for an organisation, but the important point there is actually learning to have those personalities mix well together and understand one another, that that's who they are and what their needs are to make sure that they collaborate in the end and are working towards the same direction, not going different paths.

Brendan Rogers: If you had to pick two key traits, what would you say are the top two things for you that really inspires you or gets you on board with a leader?

Tracey Dean: Number one is showing the care factor. That genuine care factor comes through with not only words that they speak, but their actions. And I think that to me is what inspires me, the creativity. I don’t know if  can put it into two words, as such, kindness and the focus on people. You are there to inspire people, definitely with the, you know, some leaders have taken over roles, some leaders have created their own business. It's whatever it might be. You've got that vision in yourself as myself just taking on my own business. And whilst I’ve only got my daughter as an employee, it's also, it's interesting seeing that dynamic. It's, you've got the vision as to what you want that creating and it's, do they have the passion and the drive that you do? Perhaps, but maybe not. They’re in there for a different reason, or it's a stepping stone, whatever that may be, by giving that person, that experience whilst they’re with you, to understand the passion that you've got, why you've created that and allow them to enjoy their journey whilst they're there. A leader that can actually inspire others to improve and come to work and enjoy themselves I think is probably the top of my list and just being kind and understanding.

Brendan Rogers: So, when you're working with a leader who has those sort of traits, how does that bring out performance in you? How does that make you feel? And what are you prepared to do for that business and that leader?

Tracey Dean: Oh anything. Like that, once I'm inspired with the business, I’m 100% invested. Makes me feel happy. Once the happy hormones come in and it makes me feel happy and I want to achieve, I want to do my very best. That's, you know, that's definitely what I want to do. Any challenge that I take on, that's what I try and do is actually try to do my best to improve and add value where I can, but also be aware that if I'm not, that's the other important thing I feel is as leaders, don't be afraid to ask for help at times. If you don't feel that you can do what the tasks are or you don't feel you're adding the right value or you're concerned, definitely speak up. I think that's also very important within teams and as a leader.

Brendan Rogers: I know you've got plans for your business for BTS Accounting. And how do you see yourself impacting on your business? And as you're bringing people on, what traits are you putting forward so that you can have the best business that you can have?

Tracey Dean: Definitely, I’ve already started talking to a few people and the people that I would like to be involved within my business and already have involved within my business, have very similar values to myself and I feel that it's extremely important, particularly working with clients. So, that's one of my criteria is, I'll be using, is there anybody that I onboard would be that they've got the same sort of values that they've got that passion and that they are aligned with helping people, wanting to make people happy? And how can you do that? And how can we do that with our skill set that we've got? And that's also the balance that I want to make sure that we're offering within the business, because there's a lot of technology side of it as well.

I was speaking to a friend only the other day, the advancement with technology from when I originally had my business to now, it's just making sure I can cover all bases, but the underlying, whilst the skill sets there to me, one of the most important things is their values that they have that they would bring to the organisation. Number one that I will be looking for is basically similar values to myself and that they've got that core responsibility that they're there to help the clients. That's their number one focus.

Brendan Rogers: So, we've talked a bit about the positive side and those positive traits that you've taken and that's inherent in you. And you talked about how that responsibility-centred leader really inspires you. And you know, they've got you, you're invested and you're going to give everything you have to give. Flip it around. When you may be involved with a reward-centred leader, how does that work for you?

Tracey Dean: Yeah, that's a challenge for me because I still want to give my best. I think, it then is an emotional level that comes in for me is the question I keep asking, “Why?” It's me trying to understand why, whereas it's not necessary. I've learned over the past that there's not necessarily an answer to that question of why. It is just who that person may be. I'm not directly related to this situation. However, I know how team members in an executive level felt, and that was, they felt that they weren't valued, that they weren't being heard. Their leader had a traditional outlook onto what the decision was that he was going to make. And once he made that decision, all team members were extremely unhappy. They felt they weren't valued. They didn't understand why, but once again, and I agree with how they handled it. They came together and they gave that leader the feedback.

And once that feedback was given to the leader, there was then discussion and it was a, they were then being heard and whilst it wasn't too probably their level that they wanted, they came to an agreement. And I think that's probably what I've taken away from. Not only hearing that, but also my experience as well in that where, at times, even if it's someone being responsible, and they've moved into that reward area, I feel, as I said, I'll still give the hundred percent, but I'll have that level of doubt in my mind behind. And I always question why. And once I get to that, the emotions start getting in with me. I think that definitely has a negative impact. And whilst I might be thinking I'm giving a 100%, I’m probably at the 90% - 95%.

Brendan Rogers: What does success look like for you as a leader?

Tracey Dean: The people underneath them being happy, they're comfortable, having those conversations with the leader or their direct report at any time. They feel valued in what they're doing and they're turning up to work and really enjoying what they're doing. Having that environment creates the happiness and creates a success of any organisation and business. Any challenges that might come to face an organisation, you'll get collaboration of teams, you'll get collaboration of the employees and they'll work together to get over any hurdles. I feel that we may face the organisation, but to me, ultimately, to see the smiles on people's faces and they know you genuinely care and they actually care about the organisation and where it's going, I think that to me is what a successful leader would look like.

Brendan Rogers: You've led a number of people over time. What does a success story look like for you?

Tracey Dean: Success stories where I see that they've grown within their role, giving them confidence within themselves to grow, I think is where there's generically, it would be opening up those conversations with them to identify where they would like to go in their journey with the organisation and helping them get there. And at times, if it doesn't work out, implementing a different direction for that person where I see the benefit is, it's the growth within that individual and seeing their happiness and relief once they actually hit that goal that they're trying to achieve is, that's extremely exciting.

Brendan Rogers: Go back to when you first started leading people. And I want you to tell us your apprehension around first leading people.

Tracey Dean: Oh, that's just, have I got the right skill set? Am I going to do the right job? It’s all the doubts that came into my mind whilst I was excited that that's what I was going to do.

There was a lot of doubt because that's, I'll doubt myself as you know. So, I think the apprehension is, am I going to be able to help people? Am I going to be able to make a difference for the organisation, for the people that I'm leading? That's probably where I'd be going back many years now. So, it's the apprehension would be definitely on what level will I be able to help the people?

Brendan Rogers: What is it over the time that you felt has developed you into a more confident leader and a more confident responsibility-centred leader?

Tracey Dean: I think that comes down to experience. The experiences that you have and also being willing to always learn. Oh, I see how other people handle situations and take the feedback on and learn to grow yourself. No one can be perfect. You think you're doing a good job. There's always something that you can do better, always digging deep to see what else that you can do to improve yourself and learn from the experiences. You do make mistakes along the way, but understanding instead of dwelling on that it's, “Well, what can I do to improve so that doesn't happen again?” Or, “What did I learn from that experience?” I think that has been invaluable. Also had different mentors along the way. I feel that's important having that guidance and their experience as well to help. Definitely make sure when with the mentor that you've got the right fit and they’re aligned with your values. I think that's important. But once again, the experience I've had is invaluable. And I think that's also led me to be the person I am and leader I am today.

Brendan Rogers: How important is it for a leader in setting the tone for what this environment is about?

Tracey Dean: That's the key to all things. Yeah, definitely that filters right down. And that's when I think I said too with McDonald's that experience I had when I was new into the, well, when I say new, I did do my degree with chartered accounting firms as well. So, once again, I did have experience, but I guess, going to a larger corporation and think, well, how would this work within the culture? And how does that fit within leadership? That experience was, that definitely filtered down from the top. He was so inspiring, so caring, always happy and made each individual, whether you were, as I said, a trainee as I was at that point in time or within the stores or at the executive level had that way of not only he would come walk through the office, you know, that I feel important as well as in anyone can walk through the office, but it was how he made that interaction with the people.

So, it's the interaction you have with the people. What you say, maybe staff meetings, and then the actions that follow afterwards, following through with those actions. And if there's been an announcement of a priority that might be there, for example, in organisations, I hear the people are, and the employees are hearing that, what does that look like? You know, do you follow up, “okay, where are we with that priority?” You know, “are we moving on to the other?” It's definitely giving that continual feedback and being transparent and honest as to if something isn't going well, being honest and being able to have that honest conversation with the employees.

Brendan Rogers: I know we spoke about success as a leader. What do you love about leading people?

Tracey Dean: I love helping people. I love making people happy and that's at all different levels, but I really love watching people grow and helping them improve and meet their goals that they're setting to achieve professionally.

Brendan Rogers: Tracey, let's just go back to something you mentioned earlier in this podcast. You listened to Tim Ferguson's episode about building high-performing teams. You'd said to me, “That was quite a reflective listen”. Tell us a bit about the reflection that that created for you.

Tracey Dean: I'm always looking at ways to improve myself as well. It was definitely a lot of the wording he was saying with the leading teams and high-performing teams. It was, and whilst I went through that process, as I think I mentioned to you, it was very challenging. However, very rewarding at the same time. Definitely, the application and the implementation of that whole journey and that whole process was extremely difficult. So, it definitely helps to improve the team. As I said, that the team members are all on their journey at different times, and I feel that it's not a simple process as in, you can identify what some of the issues are and what may need to be tabled, however, the implementation and the process, the timing of those conversations, the length of time, the realisation of some people not being aligned when they did think they were being aligned and at the challenges that presents itself, because that's working with team members that you may have been working with for many years and having different conversations, they're in different directions. So, making sure you can bring that back into alignment with the group, and also having that strong leader there to help that and ensure that those conversations are being had in a safe environment.

And I think he mentioned being adaptive. So, there's changes constantly. People change themselves and the situations the scenarios change. The conversations change. So, learning to be more adaptive is probably a key area I took from that podcast as well.

Brendan Rogers: It's such a simple model that leading teams has. The foundation of that process is genuine conversations. What's the challenge in having genuine conversations with people?

Tracey Dean: I think the key point there is trust. To have a genuine conversation, you've got to trust that the other person's motives and intentions are the same as yours, that they're willing to hear the feedback or have a conversation about the issue and everybody. That's it when personalities I feel really play a strong part because everybody's personality is different. Everybody approaches things, whilst it's a simple process, and yes, you think you can have a genuine conversation with somebody. They may not be ready to have that conversation. So, it's actually also being able to identify the different personality that person may have within the team and how you adapt your language and how you adapt your actions and your conversations to ensure they feel safe and are ready. And you can generally get that feel that the person's ready. Don't always get that right too. Definitely, I know myself, I haven't as well. And could I have done things better? Absolutely. Is it a learning experience? Definitely. And that's what you take from a lot of that, but whilst that's happening, it's just being honest, trusting yourself as well. Also trusting yourself and being honest to yourself, making sure you're not doing it for the wrong reasons and being very respectful of everybody around. I think they’re the key points to help the implementation. So, whilst the process is simple, it is definitely the implementation of it can be quite challenging.

Brendan Rogers: On that reflection, is there any things that you could help us with understand where you realised that you may have misread the situation or the level of trust?

Tracey Dean: I think that that does come with experience as well. And also just taking that time, taking that within yourself to just reflect, am I doing this at the right time and ask yourself a few questions yourself as, is it the right time? Should I bring somebody else in as a support? I also found that really good, actually having a conversation. And that's where you've got to be careful not to have the conversations behind other closed doors. That doesn't help the situation at all. But actually, who else do you may bring into the conversation that might make that person comfortable or may help you with that conversation as well? I think that also was an important element that I learned too, but that person that you have as a support should understand both of the people's personalities, ‘cause that will definitely help if they don't have that understanding of the other person, then that can be a challenge as well.

Brendan Rogers: How do you suss out your clients to know that they're actually going to be a good partner to work with based on your values that you mentioned earlier?

Tracey Dean: It's conversation. So, I actually have the conversations with them. I've been lucky. There's been a lot of word of mouth. So, I know that the people that are referring those have the same values with me. So, that's very important to me. I've surrounded myself, trying to surround myself with that connection and the networking that you've definitely helped me with, Brendan. And I've found that LinkedIn, definitely, the people that are joined into LinkedIn, they, you know, that you have those conversations in, they're genuine conversations. And that's what I've found is up on the Coast as well. You have a lot of genuine people and they're caring, they got the same value. So, I think the key to it is actually having that conversation, asking a few questions and taking the time, not just going, yes. Not saying yes to everybody that you take on, you actually meet the people and actually have that relationship, grow that relationship to ensure that they are aligned with you. And then you're going to be the best fit for each other because it's not necessarily just ‘cause it's just accounting, they may need a different level. They may need a different type of personality to work with. And that's, I guess the balance is just actually spending the time to build that strong relationship.

Brendan Rogers: What you talk about around conversation and reading a client or whether they're the right client for you. So, is that saying that not every client that comes across your desk is a good client for you?

Tracey Dean: I try and help out anybody. Anybody that's needing help, I will definitely take on board. Have I taken on those that at first seemed a bit more challenging and probably not as aligned? Yes, I have. Has that helped within the business and have I helped them? Yes, I feel I have. It's also, when I say build that relationship, I just want that understanding that I am there to help. And I think, where I'm still learning as well, they're all their own individuals. They've got their own journeys, their own stories. What level of support that we as an organisation can offer for them is probably the key area that I look at. Can I actually add value to the organisation? Can I actually support them in a way that they're needing to grow? Is probably the questions I ask myself as well prior to actually taking them on as a client?

Brendan Rogers: Going back to everything we've been speaking around today. I inherently believe that everybody has the capability of being a really good leader, but the question is, should everybody, in your opinion, be a leader?

Tracey Dean: It’s a tricky one because, you know, I'll never say to somebody, “Don't try and strive for your dream and achieve what you're trying to achieve”. It's, I guess, to be a good leader is to me being vulnerable at times to also accept feedback that perhaps if you're not the right fit necessarily for an organisation at that time, are you willing to look at the feedback that you've been given and make any necessary changes that may be needed to work within that environment? So, it's a challenging question, that one, because my personality won't say, “No, no,” you know. I definitely would be going, “Everybody could be a leader.” And as you say, it should be within you. The guidance I think that they can take in the experiences that they learn from. Some people have it naturally, I feel, definitely. And what might inspire me is to be a good leader, is something, somebody different that might inspire you to be a good leader.

We see different traits within different people. And what we're sort of trying to, what the experiences we’re looking for will lead us into different views as to who is a good leader, who's not a good leader, but that's our own personal take on that. And that doesn't necessarily, if we think they're a poor leader, that they are a poor leader. They may be a great leader in someone else's eyes. I think it's definitely down to the relationships. I think a key factor for a leader in any organisation is to me being people-focused is that culture within the environment and are your people happy? Are your people invested in that business with you, alongside of you, wanting to achieve the goals and those targets that, you know, you're trying to set to be a successful business? I still feel anybody can try and strive to achieve whatever they're trying to achieve, but along the journey, whether that be a good leader based on whatever else I'll say are, be willing to accept that there may need to be improvements along the way.

Brendan Rogers: What would be that piece of advice that you would like to share with somebody? You've just said that really, anybody can achieve the goals they want to achieve. So, in other words, anyone can be the leader they want to be, provided they're prepared to do certain things to be that leader in your eyes. What advice would you give somebody moving into a leadership role or actually in a leadership role today that will help them be that leader that you believe a good leader is?

Tracey Dean: I think the key thing for me is making sure that you have people at the top of your mind, the people's needs, you have a responsibility to the people that you're leading and make sure that at times when things are getting crazy and getting busy, that you step back and reflect on, bring it back to your core values. How are the people feeling? How would you like to be treated as well? I feel that's also been good as a reflection as well, but definitely, core value would be make sure your people are happy.

Brendan Rogers: Tracey, I just want to say a massive thank you very much for coming on the podcast. The reason why I need to emphasise the thank you, ‘cause I know how uncomfortable these sort of situations are for you. We've worked together for a period of time. I have a lot of respect for you and a lot of respect around your thinking for leadership. So, I'm just so glad and honoured that you could come on and have the confidence to come on today and talk about it because I know you've got a lot of great qualities that you can share with people and I'm sure people will take a lot of real life stuff out of what you've spoken about today. Thank you very much for being a guest on The Culture of Things podcast.

Tracey Dean: Wow. Thank you, Brendan. You definitely made it feel easier than I thought it would be, but yes, very much appreciate your time.

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Brendan Rogers: Leading with responsibility is difficult and challenging. It means you will take personal responsibility for building your team. You will manage your team members and ensure they are managing theirs. You will have tough conversations. You will run great meetings and you will communicate consistently and repetitively to employees. Doing these things with consistency and discipline are tough. Those leaders that are more motivated by reward will take the easy road and avoid doing them.

Everything Tracey says and does is all about the people. I've known her for many years and she always puts people first without question. Tracey is a shining example of a responsibility-centred leader. She even mentioned it in her parting words of advice. You have a responsibility to the people you lead.

These were my three key takeaways after my conversation with Tracey.

My first key takeaway. The leader creates the environment. If the leader shows a willingness to learn and grow, their team will. If the leader has engaging interactions with people, their team will. If the leader gives and receives feedback, their team will. If the leader shows transparency and honesty, their team will. Whatever you want the environment to be as a leader, you must create it.

My second key takeaway. The best leaders put people first. They make people feel like real people and they genuinely care. Because they care, they will have open and honest conversations. They will invest time in people to find out what they want to achieve and help them get there. They take great excitement from seeing the people they lead achieve their goals. Responsibility-centred leaders put people first.

My third key takeaway. Reward-centred leaders generate team dysfunction. People start to question the leader’s motive. This erodes trust, which in turn hinders the ability to have open and honest conversations. This leads to people moving along different paths and resulting in inconsistent messaging, creating confusion. Given the amount of team dysfunction in the workplace, maybe there are too many reward-centred leaders out there.

So in summary, my three key takeaways were: the leader creates the environment, the best leaders put people first, reward-centred leaders generate team dysfunction.

If you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a message at brendan@brendanrogers.com.au.

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.