Date: Wednesday July 17, 2019

Step 3 : Adopt Visible Leadership

5 Steps to creating an Authentic Culture

Step 3 : Adopt Visible Leadership

One of the biggest levers you can utilise to create an authentic culture is leadership. The character and behaviours of a CEO, executives and senior leaders has a profound effect on culture. How leaders show up, connect with employees and foster trust will either constrain or enhance engagement and overall business performance.

We are currently undertaking a piece of research around the Future of Work and its impact on Leadership and Culture. And what’s interesting is the common theme that the essence of great Leadership hasn’t changed, it is still about trust, connecting with individuals and the ability to influence beyond your positional power. What has changed though is our world of work, the environment in which we operate. This tension is highly evident across all our clients.

In a recent interview with Lorie Argus, Group Executive – Melbourne Airport, Lorie reflected on the importance of leadership and culture:

“Culture is so important in organisations now more than ever before because we are just living in a world of confusion, ambiguity, noise, lack of clarity. When you look at the world and where it is going, people need to see leadership to be able to work through those ambiguous circumstances.”

Leaders are more important than ever, but why does it appear that true visible leadership is missing in action? Is managing tasks outweighing quality time spent leading people? The answer is YES, the reason why however is a little more complex. We expect (and demand) our leaders to always be working at peak performance even though they are also operating in a world of confusion, ambiguity and noise. 

The other paradox is the growing importance for leaders to innovate and experiment, yet it seems the tolerance for failure from boards and executives appears to be at an all-time low.  What a tough environment for even the most experienced leaders to be consistently performing at their best.

Here are three tips that can help leaders navigate this paradox, adopt visible leadership practices and be consistently at their best.

1. Review how you spend your discretionary time. Managing high workloads and demands through leadership requires us to understand the difference between system-imposed activities, boss-imposed activities and self-imposed activities (eg. your discretionary time).  We have limited influence over system or boss-imposed activities, we can however influence how our discretionary time is spent. Time is precious, so consider what activities, interactions and conversations receive your time and attention – ie. what are you most valuing in terms of allocation of your time? Are you being intentional around your leadership practice, connecting with people and building trust? 

2. Keep match fit and manage your energy. Everything we do requires energy and we need to look holistically at our wellbeing through the skillful art of energy management. There are 4 types of energy you need to consider stay fit for leadership. 

  • Force of Energy – your sense of purpose, working with heart and living by your core values
  • Focus of Energy – clarity of thought, building a growth mindset and whole brain thinking (rational, social and creative)
  • Quality of Energy – your emotional intelligence, resilience and ability to create deep connections
  • Quantity of Energy – your physical wellbeing, endurance and creating space for recovery


3. Build a leadership spine of influencers. Leadership is often seen as an individualist activity. The greatest impact I’ve seen in organisations is when a leadership eco-system is thriving through the connectivity of a leadership spine. When you can connect individuals and groups across various levels, who have high informal influence and are trusted and listened to by others, are a powerful source for visible leadership. Connect, communicate and influence your leadership spine to connect, communicate and influence others. 

Consider what visible leadership means to you, understand how you are using your discretionary time, build your leadership spine and most importantly take care of your energy levels and overall wellbeing.

If you are interested in hearing the full interview with Lorie Argus, please click here. In the meantime, connect with us at to find out more about how we can help you build future fit and visible leaders.