Chief Executive of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Nick Reade joined us for an insightful conversation to share his focus and agenda, as well as some leadership lessons and advice for emerging and current leaders in the sector.
Nick has a wealth of experience from across the South Australian business sector and has a passion for innovation and growth, which has been reflected across his previous roles in finance and banking.
Continue your education
For all developing and existing leaders, “Education is absolutely critical,” Nick said.
“Not only does having continuous education help you progress and perform, but it also impacts how others perceive you. Focusing not only on our technical skills; though these are undoubtedly essential; it is vital to build skills that will increase your credibility and confidence,” he said.
Nick’s advice is to look for opportunities for growth. By furthering his learning in strategic development, his leadership potential grew, and his confidence increased as others acknowledged his credibility and insight. Nick also shared that seeking feedback from others can be very beneficial when deciding what avenues of education to pursue.
“Sometimes we don’t always see these growth areas ourselves.”
“Having an outside source to help you identify these will assist you in planning your next steps towards education and professional development.”
Setting the Light on the Hill
From Nick’s experience as a leader, he says being strategic and collaborative is essential to leading others, as well as setting a light on the hill to guide your people. Strategic goal setting drives a collaborative approach and can help give teams a joint sense of purpose with clear outcomes.
Developing or current leaders can apply this concept to many situations that arise in teams and organisations. The mindset focuses on being able to think strategically about identifying and reaching goals.
“How you are going to get your team to arrive at the destination ‘with you’?” Nick propositioned.
Making Difficult Decisions
Looking back at his time in the banking sector, Nick reflected on some decisions made and measures taken to ensure organisations in his leadership continued to grow and thrive. He said that whilst he initially felt the anxiety and worry from these tough choices, making these decisions were for the benefit of the organisation, allowing it to continue to deliver stronger and better services. For leaders, this highlights the importance of understanding that you will sometimes be called on to make hard decisions, but to have courage and belief in what you are doing.
Never Chase the Next Thing
In Nick’s own words “Never chase the next thing.” It’s important to get down to work and focus on the job you are doing now and to put all your effort into that, rather than always focusing on the job you may have next. In his experience, excelling at your current role will give you access to more opportunities in the future, as others will want to ‘come to you’ as they value your work ethic, capability and commitment.
The Difference Between a Mentor and a Sponsor
Engaging in mentorship is very valuable in Nick’s opinion, and can be a great help in sharing and seeking advice, whilst benefiting from others’ experiences. A sponsor, however, is a little bit different.
Though they can be similar, and mentors can become your best sponsors, the main difference is that sponsors are people that will advocate on your behalf to help you access new opportunities, giving you a real boost to your career.
Finding a sponsor can be challenging, but can be mutually beneficial. Showcase your capabilities and commitment by delivering for others who you may be already working with in some capacity, to demonstrate your value to potential sponsors to inspire them to open doors for you to walk through.