The Centre for Workplace Leadership in Melbourne undertakes rigorous research to foster better leaders and improve the overall standard of Australian workplaces. The Centre’s Professor Peter Gahan shares his thoughts on why leadership is an important piece of the purpose puzzle.
The workplace is changing and we best be ready
Peter Gahan, the Centre’s Director, has given significant thought to the future of work and how organisations are to keep up with an economy that’s moving faster than ever. The keys involve a more nimble sensibility, a collaborative vein and the ability to adapt. “Technological change is altering our understanding of the workplace. For many of us, the workplace is no longer just a physical place we go to each day,” writes Peter. “It may remain an important base to which we return, but it is increasingly a mobile place that can change depending on the task, or who we are working with.” This could take the form of a café, our home or a shared workplace. Programs such as Skype and basic email have facilitated this change and mode of collaborating. The task ahead is to create work environments that are built for such reinvention.
What does good leadership even look like?
To create and sustain a high-performance workplace culture, effective leaders would do best to provide their employees with a clear sense of purpose, not merely a paycheck. “We know that people perform best at work when they are given a greater sense of purpose, a range of job tasks that are meaningful and engaging, and when they work with, and for, others who they connect with and share common values,” writes Peter in his essay What will it take to lead the future of work? In other words, a manager must be adept to answer the following: Why does this organisation exist and why is it a worthwhile place to work? “Leadership also often involves creating space for others to perform and ensuring that the many different performances cohere into something much greater,” writes Peter.
Australian businesses need the chops to compete internationally
Developments in business and technology are evolving quick-smart and are far reaching. The Centre’s vision sees Australian businesses poised to compete in a dynamic and highly competitive international market. “Our vision is to see Australian workplaces led by world-class managers. Managers capable of working collaboratively with employees and workplace stakeholders to create productive and innovative outcomes,” says Peter. “In the end, the aim is to ensure we can create highly productive, high quality, and secure jobs for the future Australian workforce.”
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