A Good Test of Thriving Leadership

There are women all across this country who are facing the isolation and challenge of rocking the cultural boat to speak truth to unlawful practice- and those who do truly are the unsung heroines of Australian workplaces. They strive for the vision of good workplace culture in all its glory- where people are energised, respected and motivated. Where transparency and fairness underpin policy and process. Where the core values of dignity and equality are the foundations on which teams are built and nurtured.

It is true that this type of culture already exists in many Australian workplaces today- but it must be created. Healthy workplace culture is not an automatic label to be bestowed upon a large or small business. It begins with solid, thriving leadership. A good test of thriving leadership is how a leader treats an employee who have the courage to raise uncomfortable and legitimate issues such as bullying, gender pay inequity, sexual harassment and so on. This is a chance for employers to model respect, fairness and transparency- but the ship has sailed for the employer who prefers to categorise the complaint as a ‘storm in a teacup’ or ‘not really bullying’ or who dismissively labels an issue as ‘out of my hands’.

The same old storms are spinning in the teacup since the Sex Discrimination Act came into force in 1984 and so there is work to be done. I encourage you to be the person with the courage to call workplace sex discrimination and bullying when you see it. Because as JA Shedd observed:

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.