Gillard vs Rudd – being a better leader

Staff Writer


Wade Kingsley is Ideas Director at DMG Radio Melbourne

Fun watching the Labor Party implode isn’t it?  Well it’s not really great for government, but it makes good news copy and hopefully drives up cume for radio!

But all the pretty vile public mudslinging did get me thinking about leadership and how important it is in today’s commercial radio environment.

I love the quote ‘you can’t be a leader without followers’.  Sadly this is where KRudd went from the dizzying heights of a Kevin’07 victory, to being thrown out of the back of a moving car in 2010.

When it comes to assessing how your team are responding to your leadership, here are some things to think about.

1 – Clear Vision:

Does everyone know what you are trying to achieve?  Sounds so obvious but I reckon you’d be surprised how often it doesn’t happen.  To me the test of this is to ask your team what they believe your vision is.  I’ll give you a clue – if it doesn’t involve a specific ratings number or growth benchmark, or a particular profit objective, then they probably don’t get it.  They might understand what their job is, but if they can’t articulate a measurable goal back to you – they don’t know why they are doing what they are doing. 

Which is where vision is different from execution.  Vision (why) has to come before Execution (what).  And it always needs a defined measurement attached so it’s clear and understood.  “We want to be the best” is not a vision, it’s a wish.

2 – Shared Accountability and Responsibility:

The leadership group models adopted by many football clubs hasn’t happened by accident.  It’s a deliberately thought out and very successful strategy, and it’s key foundation is this: Once the group (not just the leader) agree on what our behaviors should be, everyone needs to have shared accountability on delivering the outcomes.  In other words, it’s not just the role of the PD/Manager to pull-up someone who is not doing their bit to contribute to the agreed team goal.  As a player in the team, each member has to have the courage and commitment to make sure everyone’s playing their role.  This takes discipline but if footballers can do it…

3 – Redefining Communication:

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who said “I’m so sick of being over communicated to”.  And let’s face it we all would rate ourselves as pretty good communicators.  So why do we not get as much credit for it as we should?  My view is that it’s really about two things – energy and expectations.  It’s simply exhausting communicating all the time.  Having to email, speak or have meetings on big and small issues is so tedious, and it often means you don’t get time to do everything on your task list.  Then when you don’t communicate every-single-little-thing as a leader, you are accused of not communicating enough. 

Here’s a novel suggestion – stop trying to communicate everything, because you’ll never be able to.  Instead re-set the expectation in the heads of your team members.  Tell them that you commit to communicate to them only what’s important and critical to your success.  No one will ever be a perfect communicator, but if your team know that you promise to keep them across the core things, they’ll respect you more and respect you as a leader.  Provided you do it of course!

So apply these three principles in your team – clear vision shared and understood among your team, shared accountability and responsibility not just from the top, and redefining expectations around communication and what your team really need to know.  I wonder if KRudd had done those things he’d be in the position he’s in today.



Wade Kingsley is Ideas Director at DMG Radio Melbourne.  He has spent over 15 years with DMG in Programming, Promotions, Marketing and Integration leadership roles and is an avid student of creativity, leadership and team building.

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