Emily Wilson is on a mission to learn – and share – as much as she can about the leadership mindset from Australia’s most respected leaders. That’s the idea behind the What I Love About video series… or WILA for short.

While not all leadership styles are the same, Emily has found there are certain, basic traits that earmark all successful leaders. This week Emily enjoys a glass of wine at the stunning Butler Restaurant in Sydney’s Potts Point, with Alison Harrop, the Group CFO at Dexus – an inspiring Australian leader.  

In this, part 2, of their discussion, they touch on future leaders, legacy & an open mindset.

(See here for Part 1 – Letting go, vulnerability, EQ and receptivity)

Transcript of the video starts here:

Emily: What I love about Alison’s leadership style is her total selflessness. So, I was really keen to ask Alison’s opinions on…

What is an overarching environment that gets the most out of most people?

Emily: How do you manage, you know, the new workforce wanting autonomy, to be coached from behind, left to flourish versus discipline, structure, expectations…

Alison Harrop: I think to a degree, it’s somewhat overplayed. So I, I think deep down a lot of the newer generation – the Millennials – they’re kind of looking for the same things that we are, really. They want to do well in their work, they want to get ahead… They tend to probably be less accepting of some of the more, you know, things that aren’t working. Things that are inefficient, things that they go, ‘Actually, I’ve looked at that it doesn’t work, why don’t we do it differently?’
My approach to that is to nurture some of that curiosity, some of that questioning. They still need to be accountable for things, they still need to go through some of the processes that other people have been through, but if you can kind of nurture the curiosity, the innovation, the wanting to look at things differently… that’s actually the part that you want to try and nurture.

Emily: I couldn’t agree more with Alison on this.  I love the fact that she didn’t buy into Millennial ‘laziness’.  And this leads perfectly into the next part that she goes in to talk about, which is about legacy.

Alison Harrop: [My legacy] I think it would probably be around the people that work for me, and for them to recognise that maybe they didn’t think they could, or they’ve managed to do some things that they didn’t think was possible, in the beginning. For me the satisfaction is seeing them develop and grow and go,

‘Oh my god, actually this is possible, and I can be this person, I can do this and I can achieve these results.’

It’s kind of achieving through them, if you like.

Emily: That is leadership in a nutshell, right there! Which is wanting others to achieve ahead of you. You’ll love this next bit which is about having an open mindset.  And I love how naturally funny she is in her response.

How do we test mindset?

Emily: More often than not, if you’ve got someone coaching you down the mountain if you’re skiing,  or you know, coaching you up to the mountain if you’re hiking, which you love.

Alison Harrop: Alison: Yes, yes..

Emily: How do you test out that mindset? The technical the IQ that’s a given – we can check that out…

Alison Harrop:  To me, I’m never, I’m never looking at the technical… When I’m recruiting people it’s never that. It’s, it’s attitude it’s…

Emily: How can you really sus the mindset piece out?

Alison Harrop:  I don’t know, that’s a really great question because I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about how I do that, but I do do it. I think for me it’s about people who are willing to listen and to take on feedback and
to learn. Where I’ve kind of butted-heads with people is because they won’t – they’re not open to – listening to feedback, and to having a dialogue with me…

Emily: Because you are yourself…

Alison Harrop: Absolutely, I’ll take feedback any day the week. And I ask people, and people generally are pretty reluctant, to be honest.  You know, I’ll ask the CEO and he won’t say anything… ‘Yeah, yeah it’s all fine it’s all fine!’

Emily: No, be happy with that!

Alison Harrop: Give me something to work with!  [laugh].  So, it’s people who have an open mind, who are willing to go, ‘Okay you know what, she said something there, I’m not quite sure about that, but I’m gonna think about it, I’m gonna come back.’

So the people that do that are the people that I’m loyal to, to the end and I will support them to the end.

So that’s the other thing my people get. If they have that open mindset and are willing to work with me, I will support them to the ends of the earth. They know that they have me.. I’ve got their back forever. But people who have this closed… I can’t work with that.

Emily: Yeah, move on… move on or move out, now.

Alison Harrop: Because you can’t go anywhere with that.

Emily: What I love about Allison Harrop is her clear loyalty to her team, that you can’t expect it of others if you don’t expect it of yourself.

What I Love About… is a video series that allows you to zoom in on the brilliance of outstanding leadership in a candid environment, and to more holistically consider the approach of successful

“I want your business to succeed and I believe this can be achieved by creating a pipeline of sharper, better, stronger leaders. Sharing how others have done this benefits all future leaders, which ultimately benefits everyone.”

Watch Alison and Emily in Part 1: Letting go, vulnerability, EQ and receptivity as important indicators of successful people.

Emily Wilson FutureYou sincerely thanks Alison Harrop for her time and generous, personal sharing. 

For more great leadership content, follow us on Linkedin.

We’d also like to thank The Butler in Potts Point for facilitating the lunch and the camera crew.