When it comes to addressing inequality, don’t underestimate the power of leading by example, Full Stop Australia CEO Hayley Foster says.
Speaking in conversation with Ann Burns on the first episode of Chief Executive Women’s new podcast, Driving the Equality Agenda, Foster underlined the importance of modelling the type of behaviour that will build a more equal society.
Full Stop Australia is working towards putting a stop to sexual, domestic and family violence by offering confidential support, best-practice training for workplaces, and encouraging governments, businesses and communities to make the changes required to better prevent and respond to sexual, domestic and family violence.
“Don’t underestimate the power you have just through setting an example,” Foster says.
“Everybody has spheres of influence, whether it be in the board room, on the floor of the office or worksite, or at home, on your sporting fields, in your community or households.
“Whatever you’re doing you have a lot of people watching you and paying attention, particularly our little ones. So do your best to set an example because that is the society you’re going to create.”
Foster sees an opportunity. In addressing inequality in their own workplaces, leaders can also shift norms outside of work. That begins by thinking about whether your workplace is one where people are comfortable coming forward and reporting bullying, harassment and discrimination.
“If we can have safety and respect in the workplace, that’s going to sure those social norms up, it’s going to set the tone for how we treat each other outside the board room and outside the workplace,” she says.
On this special double episode of Driving the Equality Agenda, Burns was also joined by Man Cave CEO Hunter Johnson who speaks to the importance of seeking new models of manhood.
“How do we raise our young men to have an understanding that they are born into a system called the patriarchy? Now that might not be their fault, but it is their responsibility to do something,” Johnson says.
“We need to create a space for the messy, politically incorrect conversations, where people can learn without being judged.
“When boys are given the space to really slow down, feel psychologically safe, they get to understand their inner world, develop empathy for someone else’s world, and then we can start a journey on being a healthy young man.”
The themes that helped guide this episode, advocacy and compassion, are two of the 12 competencies in the CEW Leadership Compass. The Compass is the learning framework that underpins the CEW Leaders Program.