There's one, very simple reason Juliette Economo was awarded the 2017 Business Woman of the Year by the National Association for Women In Construction (NAWIC): she's a supremely effective leader. Starting her career as a solicitor, her brand of effective leadership extends past her demonstrable business skills and commercial acumen. To Juliette, the truer meaning of effective leadership is about a commitment to her colleagues' professional wellbeing and that of the broader community. Juliette genuinely cares. Her definition of leadership is more akin to a stewardship; she is a custodian. This is evident in her approach to the projects she undertakes, the mentees she guides and as you're about to see, the way she communicates it all.

Characteristics of effective leadership

In this abridged conversation with FutureYou's Managing Partner, Emily Wilson, Juliette humbly shares her personal stories on her achievements, including her own experiences with fears and anxieties, as she dismantles a few myths about today's leaders, self-esteem and the 'smoke and mirrors' that exists in executive leadership. She offers some great advice for women aspiring to leadership roles and details how she tests for the soft skills she needs her team members to have.

She's frank, she's funny, she's empathetic, she's delightfully real and completely, pragmatically relatable.

If leading by example is all it's cracked up to be, her track record as a mentor means there are going to be quite a few top-notch future leaders in the pipeline.

Please enjoy Part One of this Three Part conversation with Juliette Economo, Director of Commercial Services, Roads and Maritime Services.

Effective Leadership video transcribe begins - Part 1: Confidence & self-doubt

Emily Wilson: I recently caught up with Julia Economo, who's Director of Commercial Services for Roads & Maritime Services. What's not to love about Juliette? She's frank, she's funny, she's accomplished, she's humble and she is incredibly clever... everything you could want in a leader and mentor.

She laughed when she told me that her career had not gone exactly to plan. So, I asked her what advice she would give others when they're taking a new career leap?

Juliette Economo: This is advice I give to a lot of female friends: Just because you're not quite ready for that role right now doesn't mean you sure you go for it anyway. Because, you know, women have got this tendency, and I see it all the time, to only apply for roles where they're 90 to 95% already qualified to do the role.

Now, how boring is that?

Men don't do that. You need to go into a role where you can you can stretch yourself, you can learn, you can grow, you can develop.

So, the key thing there is to make sure that you find a boss or a manager that can see the opportunity that you are. That can see you know how much you've got to give...

Emily Wilson: Your potential.

Juliette Economo: Yes. Your potential! And that they'll help you. If you've got the right boss, you can achieve amazing things.

Emily Wilson: Support from loved ones is a reoccurring theme in this leadership series and one that rings very true for me. Very little discussion is had about leadership and self-doubt. But here, Juliette talks about the myth of everyone having natural self-confidence.

Juliette Economo: A lot of the time it is all an act. You just got to be brave. You've just got to go out there just try. It's smoke and mirrors. And then also the realisation of probably most people around you are just as scared. Otherwise, you know, getting the support of the people around you. So, whether it's your team...your partner I've got an incredibly supportive husband and he's always there, you know, backing me 100%.

Because you do... There's always that constant self-doubt, and I think the higher up into you into seniority, into senior roles you go, possibly the more self-doubt creeps in.

Because you are surrounded with people who are really high achievers, they are very good at what they do, and there's an expectation that, you know, either you're an alpha personality or you're very confident and you can just you can just handle it.

But, self-doubt is there. It's there for a reason; it keeps you on your toes; it's not a bad thing.

Emily Wilson: It's knowing how to channel it.

Juliette Economo: That's it yeah.

Emily Wilson: Are there any tips that you could share around how you hire. Or what are some of the traits that you really look for? Other than the technical skills?

Juliette Economo: Yeah, you've got to have the technical skills... Again, I go with my gut, a lot. I'm always looking for how they'll gel with the team. And where I can I'll actually try and arrange - not another interview - but a meeting with some of the other team members, where I'm not in the picture and they can actually sort of sit there and have a chat - it's a little bit more candid, and they can talk about, what it's like... working for me! [laughs]

But it is about making sure you've got somebody who's got energy and you want somebody who's pretty, pretty resilient.

So, they've got they've got to be able to fit in that way... otherwise, they're just, they won't last.

Emily Wilson: Hiring for attitude over skills alone is another reoccurring theme that I hear from leaders. What I love about Juliette is her really genuine attitude. It's a wonderful combination of being a really decent person but also having a no-nonsense approach.


While not all leadership styles are the same, FutureYou's Managing Partner, Emily Wilson has found there are certain characteristics of effective leadership that successful leaders share. Em's on a mission to learn - and share - as much as she can about the true meaning of leadership from some of Australia’s more remarkable leaders.

For more inspiring leadership articles or to grab some great effective leadership quotes

Alison Harrop, CFO Dexus Group -1: EQ, vulnerability & letting go. 2: Open mindsets. 3: Being human.

Elyse Henderson, COO AUB Group 1: Diversity & Perfection. 2: What's the point? 3: Resilience. 

Effective communication

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