After returning to Australia from the US in early 2020, Honan offered me the opportunity to manage its Global Benefits business across Australia and Asia.
Not only did this represent a chance to progress my career, but to take on a new and exciting challenge in leadership – a realm I was yet to experience.
In navigating this new chapter, I asked myself – and often others – what does it take to be a good leader? There’s no shortage of books, articles and research dedicated to this very question, but what helped me most in shaping my response, were the leaders who stood before me, the colleagues beside me, and the team around me.
Over 2020, and the last six months in particular, the collective experience, ideas and dedication shown by my team for their work, led me to many ‘a-ha’ leadership moments, the following five being most powerful:
Jump in headfirst and get your hands dirty – understanding every component of a business unit is so important, no matter how small.
Be ambitious, not for yourself, but for the company – serving a greater cause will keep you moving forward.
Speak less and listen more – listening to your team’s needs and ideas, and integrating these with my own has been vital. Everyone has knowledge, skills, and experience to contribute. Team trust, openness and flexibility is key.
Empower those around you – a culture advocating for the safe taking of risks for the advancement of the business fuels innovation. Psychological safety is paramount here.
Ask ‘why’, and challenge if there is a better way – improvement is a journey.
Leadership is a lifelong quest. I’m still learning on a daily basis and fine-tuning my definition of what a successful leader entails in a world where the needs of individuals and businesses are continually moving.
The leaders I’ve most admired throughout my career have inspired me to never stop learning, to approach each challenge with openness and curiosity, and strive to inspire others to do the same. Ultimately, forging success should be about working together to make a positive difference.
Last week, our leaders Andrew Fluitsma and Laurence Basell hosted an adrenaline-filled Townhall meeting, with plenty of sports-themed challenges, interviews and a quiz! Along with demonstrating their competitive spirit, the team were invited to submit a video capturing how they’re keeping active. Here’s a compilation of some standout entries.
When a crisis hits, it can bring out the best in humanity. This was evident during Australia’s recent bushfire crisis, where people from around the nation (and the world) came together to support communities. Unfortunately, crises can also bring out the worst, where people see opportunities to exploit people’s anxiety, fear and panic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has countries and governments scrambling to respond. The healthcare system is being pushed and our economy is suffering. There are significant changes to how and where we work. It’s predicted many businesses will face solvency issues, which may lead to closures, especially to the most vulnerable small to medium business sector, the lifeblood of Australian communities.
A growing number of employers are implementing social distancing and/or remote working policies. Moving at short notice from a trusted office environment to working remotely can create security risks. Our experience tells us that employees are typically the weakest link in the network security chain. In these times of anxiety and uncertainty, they are even more vulnerable than usual to cyber threats. At Honan, we have already witnessed increased activity from cyber criminals looking to exploit the crisis. We have seen a rise in email scams, phishing emails, malware and social engineering fraud.In response, we’d like to share with you some guidance on enhancing your cyber security.
Eight ideas for improved cyber security for remote workers:
Implement the latest version of your security software and anti-virus protection. Regularly check for patches as these often fix entry points for cyber criminals
Ensure your WiFi connection is secure
Back up regularly – if you are a target of an attack, a back up means you won’t lose everything
Install encryption tools
Change your password regularly
If working in a shared space, ensure you lock your screen when stepping away
What’s the plan? – If there is a cyber security incident what are the procedures to follow? Educate staff on these procedures
Cyber Insurance – review your Cyber insurance policy or consider purchasing one.
We have gathered some additional resources to help you protect against cyber risks in the current climate:
The Australian Cyber Security Centre has provided a list of proactive strategies businesses can take in preparation for COVID-19.