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Being a Transparent Leader

BlueRock is a Fast 100 company and was also voted one of the best places to work in Australia. Bruce McFarlane, BlueRock's CEO and Trevor Gordijn BlueRock's Chief Commercial Officer, share their personal experiences of running a business during COVID-19, how they have supported their teams and helped their clients, many of whom are in the hospitality sector. 

They discuss their personal learnings on maintaining routine, looking after yourself first so that you can lead others well, young leaders ‘stepping up’, creating a people-first culture and the power of transparent leadership in difficult times.

 

 

 

 

Transparent leadership

Is your team struggling to keep up in the dynamic, work from home environment COVID-19 has forced on the entire world? While no one could have anticipated the shut down we’ve been working through for the majority of 2020, businesses have learned to adapt and overcome the challenges. 
 

Creating a people first culture

One of the first steps in adapting to this new normal is creating a culture and working environment that makes people feel comfortable, despite the remote working arrangement. The leaders at BlueRock discuss how they’ve tackled this issue.
 

Building a community

Making your employees and clients feel like they’re a part of something goes a long way. In order for organisations to thrive as they grow, companies must build a community guided by the values that fuel the business. This includes building both internal and external communities. 
 
A community is constantly evolving and as employees come and go, the community is influenced by each individual’s insights, experiences and perspectives. Providing a sense of belonging for both employees and clients, you can encourage meaning and purpose. Communities are also sustainable and while the CEO may not be able to manage 400+ employees, managers and team leaders can step in to guide smaller communities within a larger context. 
 

Supporting your people

Showing you genuinely care about your people and your clients, even during these trying times, is an important part of being a transparent leader. Going above and beyond to personally help them through issues and relating to their experiences instead of belittling them can help to instill a more positive experience.
 
McFarlane and Gordijn also discuss the fear employees often have when it comes to doing something wrong, but in reality, experiences like that can shape a more positive environment. It’s important to be able to guide them on how to handle difficult situations and adapt to issues in the workplace.
 

Transparency during COVID-19

McFarlane and Gordijn touch on how they remained transparent with employees and clients to keep that people centric culture alive, even during the ongoing pandemic. A few tactics included:
 
  • Changing the goal posts to make sure everyone can feel successful. When COVID-19 hit Australia, many businesses were forced to make decisions quickly, which is exactly what BlueRock did. By acting fast and narrowing the focus to short term measurable goals, they were able to realign the business’ goals to better suit the situation. 
  • Servicing a range of hospitality clients, BlueRock saw an opportunity to better assist the wider community. The team offered free law and financial advice for struggling clients and helped them develop a plan of action for handling business during the pandemic. 
  • Like many other businesses across Australia, BlueRock was faced with some tough decisions. Pay cuts were necessary to keep business up, but they were taken company wide, even by leaders, and this was communicated to the entire team.
  • By holding regular Zoom meetings with the team, they were able to remain a united front and stay in touch despite working remotely.