Rachael Pickworth is extremely passionate about leaders in business aligning their work to their passions, being highly engaged and using their position to inspire and engage others to bring out their best.
For more than 13 years, Rachael Pickworth has worked to develop strong leaders among staff, teams and managers from organisations that include PWC, L’Oreal Professionnel, Myer Limited and Telstra. Here she shares her thoughts on how leaders can quickly propel their impact and why her business, MAD Leaders takes an unusual approach to leadership development.
What motivated you to start MAD Leaders?
After coaching leaders across both small business and corporations for almost 10 years, I was frustrated with the level of growth achieved from coaching alone; I wanted to see a greater return on investment and dramatic growth.
I spent a lot of time working on the ‘magic pill’ so to speak, a process that would achieve the greatest transformation in the shortest amount of time. I wanted to help leaders step up to make their unique difference in the business, which is where MAD Leaders came from – MAD being
an acronym for Make a Difference.
A leader has an incredible opportunity to be an inspiring pebble, making a positive ripple effect throughout the team, the business and their career
Why are great leaders so important?
A leader has an incredible opportunity to be an inspiring pebble, making a positive ripple effect throughout the team, the business and their career. Imagine the greatness that can be achieved if leaders everywhere could bring out the best in themselves and the people around them. That vision excites me.
What do you believe leaders need to do to grow their impact and career?
There are four key areas that make a huge difference:
Leaders need to lead themselves. They need to take the time on a regular basis to ask themselves what do I want, what are my goals, what do I need to do to get there, what self beliefs do I need to overcome/shift and who can support me to get there? If you ask leaders how they reached the current point in their career, many will tell you that opportunities have come their way. The greater opportunity is to lead, drive and own their own career, in order to create the opportunities themselves rather than waiting for the business to direct their development or career.
2. Get feedback, and often
Before your readers cringe, I have to say this is hands-down the fastest way to step up your impact and build your brand in the business. My advice to any leader who seriously wants to grow is to contact people you respect in the business and ask for a one-hour feedback session. Make it clear you would like to grow and develop, share your 12-month goal and give them full permission to share what they consider to be your three key strengths and what they believe you can do to grow and make a bigger difference. The feedback you receive will be gold, plus you are building your brand in the business through the process. Make sure you go into the process eager to hear how you are perceived without being defensive. Keep in mind one person’s perception is just that.
The MAD Leaders program spends about 60 per cent on coaching and 40 per cent on obtaining feedback from key people in the business – usually six people including a two-up manager, a direct manager, two peers and two direct reports. The coach does the interviewing and delivers the feedback to the leader.
3. Align your career to your passion
This is absolutely crucial for a leader’s continued commitment to their work and ensures greater career fulfillment. I recently worked with a valued senior manager who was feeling disengaged, was unclear about his next career steps and was considering leaving the business. By digging into his passions he realised that he is most happy when he is the ‘grease’ in the business, meaning he keeps key projects moving to ensure deadlines are met. He also realised that he didn’t enjoy leading people unless it was project based. He identified what he enjoys most and where he provides his greatest value to the business. He then worked with his GM and Director to ensure his career trajectory and opportunities aligned with his strengths and passion. As a result, he is excited and energised by the year ahead and has a renewed commitment to the business.
4. Get the leadership basics right
Too many managers are promoted without the training or development to support great leadership. I recently asked a team leader if he understood the difference between management and leadership and he looked at me blankly. If you want to be a great manager and leader you need to get the basics ticked off and then be religious about looking after your team well. For example, a manager should have regular 1:1 meetings with staff (at least once per month) but fortnightly and even weekly is better. If you are going to lead well and get the best out of your people you need to know what to do and have a structure in place to bring out their best.
About Rachel Pickworth
Rachael Pickworth is a multi-award winning entrepreneur who established, built and sold her own business before developing the company MAD Leaders. Her first business, ‘Gifted’ was a Victorian finalist in the 1999 Telstra Small Business Awards and winner of the 2000 Business Bulletin’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Ms. Pickworth was included in the 1998 and 1999 Business Class Magazine’s Female Entrepreneurs under 30 List, and in 1999 was inducted into the Business Women’s Hall of Fame.
At MAD Leaders Ms. Pickworth runs a unique Australia-wide program called MAD Leaders 360, to assist leaders to be the best they can be and make their unique difference. For more than 13 years she has worked with staff, teams and managers from organisations including PWC, L’Oreal Professionnel, Cities of Darebin, Stonnington, Kingston and Yarra, AGD Mining, Quix Foodstores, VicRoads, Orica, Myer Limited, Link HR Consulting, 3M, Orica and Telstra’s Top Talent Identification Team.
Over the coming year, Rachael Pickworth will present a series of articles in mivision about how you can develop your leadership skills and the skills of others around you. She will dig deep into the topics of ‘Authentic Leadership’, ‘Building Your Brand’ and ‘Creating Your Ripple Effect’.
For more information on MAD Leaders go to: www.madleaders.com.au