How to Develop a Sense of Responsibility

[This post has been one of my more popular articles. Enjoy!]

Atlas Does Not Shrug

While discussing leadership with one of my coaching clients, he commented that part of his leadership development came through owning his own business a number of years ago. Having to ensure that business came through the door, that standards were high and the workers were on the job – all while going towards feeding his family – meant that he felt total responsibility for the work requirements. That basic, elemental part of his leadership – the sense of personal responsibility – is something he has carried over to a highly successful career in a large corporation. And it is a vital quality that activates and sustains leadership.

But developing an appropriate sense of responsibility in yourself and in others can be difficult. How do you do it?


Peter McLean’s Monday Morning Mission – 11/12/2017

Should You Choose to Accept It…

I love it when “the news” makes blanket statements that just are simply untrue. News outlets in Australia were all agog this morning that the whole nation would be sweltering through a heat wave this coming week, with mid-week temperatures soaring into the stratosphere. This does not include, however, (more…)

Toxic Cultures & Leaders

I have often been called on to turn around toxic cultures and relationships. They can be abusive, or harassing, or unproductive or conflict-ridden. In every situation, the results of the organisation or team suffer.

Always … Always! … the leadership of the group or organisation has been involved and responsible at some level. For very large organisations, it may not be the chief executive, but for any group, you can find a substantial root at the foot of the leadership just one or two levels away from the individuals concerned (if the leaders themselves are not the subject of investigation).

That’s why I don’t find credible cries from immediate leadership that they never saw or knew anything about workplace sexual harassment scandals currently rocking Hollywood, the media and politics in the US – and, as it starts to come out, around the world. Either those plaintiffs are deceitful or so amazingly ignorant that they ought to be dismissed anyway.

It’s like leaders (e.g. the head of Australian Olympics) who claim all of the kudos when their organisation does really well (“It was my efforts that led to us winning all of those gold medals”) but deny responsibility or accountability when failing to win (“Well, the reason they’re not winning gold is because government has to give us a lot more money. That’s why the athletes are failing. It’s not my fault.”).

If you’re in leadership and you have your eyes even partially open, you should recognise signs and do something about harassment, abuse, conflict, toxicity and results. That’s part of the burden and responsibility – and challenge – that goes along with the privilege of leadership.

© 2017 Peter J. McLean

Why Can’t Actors Speak at Awards Shows?

I was watching a portion of the 2017 AACTA Awards last night. AACTA is the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts – basically, like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Oscars – in the US. I was reminded once again how terrible actors are without a great director and lines written by a good scriptwriter.

Reading corny lines, and frequently enough delivering tone-deaf sexual harassment jokes, from their autocues and running short little skits that had no-one amongst their peers laughing, let alone the TV audience, one wonders how the actors get paid to do what they do. My eldest daughter, not yet 15, is a great little actress, and has a great brain amongst many other gifts. She would be embarrassed and appalled by the standard shown by the “famous” entertainers at the AACTA.

I’ve witnessed the same kind of poor speaking ability on numerous acting awards shows from around the world. The actor that does get it right and sounds natural and engaging is the exception, rather than the rule. I’ve not bothered with an empirical validation, but it seems the more the big Hollywood star they are, the more awkward they are.

They’re better off with a great director who makes them look like they know what they’re doing on the screen, a cinematographer who can frame the shot right, a professional writer who gives them great dialogue and an editor who can juxtapose scenes to make the same shot look like the actor is either intensely angry, deeply in love, paradoxically anguished, or inscrutably morose, depending on the context.

One of the secrets to great communication is actually to be authentic – genuine – in your speech and manner. Doing that, ironically, requires practise. If you are using an autocue or prepared lines, do the unthinkable: practise them beforehand. Make it sound natural. Work with the language so that it is your own and rolls off the tongue and your body language. When preparing your own material, ensure it reflects you and your language and ideas and be able to say it on stage, in a group and in private. Know it and own it.

Don’t be wooden. Don’t be corny. Don’t be inappropriate and insensitive to the moment. In short, don’t be like those people up there on the stage. It’ll kill you!

© 2017. Peter J. McLean.

Apologies But My Site Was Down Due to Technical Error

My apologies, but my site has been down for a few days due to a technical error. The hosting company was only just able to find and resolve the specific error today. (DNS problems, for you tech nerds.)

I can neither confirm nor deny whether this problem will require either a Royal Commission or Special Prosecutor, however I can insinuate with assurance that no Russians were involved in either hacking or colluding with respect to the site.

As a consequence to the problems, there was no Monday Morning Mission post this week, but expect one to follow next week.

Yours in the web-verse.

Peter McLean

Peter McLean’s Monday Morning Mission – 27/11/2017

Should You Choose to Accept It…

Leadership is in a state of crisis around the world. People, organisations and nations all complain that their leaders are inept, bumbling, corrupt, ineffective, self-seeking, unable to bring out the best in their people or combinations of all of those qualities and more. The reason that leadership is in a crisis is because


Peter McLean’s Monday Morning Mission – 20/11/2017

Should You Choose to Accept It…

In the US, they celebrate Thanksgiving this week on Thursday the 23rd. When I lived and studied in the US, I found this to be a wonderful celebration and time to reflect on what we’ve been gifted and earned. More relaxed and far less commercial than any other family oriented holiday, and bridging religious and cultural divides, it was something that everyone shared in common.

But one of the astounding things (more…)

Peter McLean’s Monday Morning Mission – 13/11/2017

Should You Choose to Accept It…

In his book, “Give and Take”, researcher Adam Grant points out that contrary to the myth, the fact is that good guys often do finish first in business. In fact, “givers”, are at the high-performing end of professions such as medicine, engineering and finance. So how come it seems like “takers” are so often the real winners?


Peter McLean’s Monday Morning Mission – 6/11/2017

Should You Choose to Accept It…

The world will not end through the efforts of Donald J. Trump. I know it’s popular right now amongst a portion of the world’s population to think that he will start World War III because he is confronting the leader of North Korea. If the manner of his remarks were less inflammatory and couched more diplomatically, then we might think it’s less, as one person put it in conversation at a business leaders’ meeting, “two naughty boys in the playground!” and more the sensible, rational efforts of a nation seeking to squelch what is essentially a mafia-style dictator who happily kills his own brother and would happily turn nukes on his neighbours. (more…)

Citizenship Obsession

The current citizenship obsession within the Australian Government is a case of policy and process destabilising performance. The Coalition Party clearly needed to do more to prevent these dual citizenships from cropping up as problems, but given that never, in the history of Australian Federal Politics, has this been made an issue, one could understand their lack of internal scrutiny.

More importantly, this debacle is being used to destabilise government for its own sake, rather than to do anything that remotely impinges on the effectiveness of our government. Not one of the people caught in this trap has demonstrated affiliative influence related to their “other” citizenship. They have been Australian by birth, upbringing and intent.

The Opposition has been feeling secure in its own vetting processes, but has held back on calling for full audits because they may well be wringing their hands now and saying, “What if one of us was granted citizenship by right of birth and by decree of a foreign government, without us even knowing it?” Because that is what is happening with a number of these individuals.

Time to put a stop to this nonsense and for the High Court to rule that despite having a dual citizenship, there is clearly no intent to deceive or defraud the Commonwealth on the part of these individuals and that they should simply take steps to comply with legislation and/or formally and publicly renounce their external citizenship within a reasonable time, if so deemed necessary, but that they may continue meanwhile in the roles to which they were duly elected.

In other words, how about some common sense for the sake of our nation?!

© 2017 Peter J. McLean

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