Albert Brantley: Leaders do the Right Thing
One cannot help but admire Albert Brantley. As the first speaker of the Kerridge & Partners Leadership Series, Albert, the recently appointed CEO of Ōtākaro, is arrestingly calm and collected throughout our breakfast conversation held on the 1 July 2016 in Auckland. Chee Wei Kwan, a Partner at Kerridge & Partners, steered the discussion with a number of thought-provoking questions in an audience of over 50 from across New Zealand, all of whom came to be inspired by Albert and his leadership journey.
Much of the initial conversation was spent around the topic of people, whether it is those who have served to inspire, challenge or discipline Albert in his journey to becoming a world-class leader. To Albert, a good leader is one who creates a safe environment for team members to voice their opinions and “…not afraid to employ people a lot smarter than they are.” He draws a simple, yet stark distinction between management and leadership, which sends many attendees to repost on Twitter (@KerridgeGlobal) the one liner that “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.” The importance of surrounding oneself with true leaders and continuously striving to do the right thing, even in the face of adversity, becomes a reoccurring theme throughout the conversation.
Diversity is another point of emphasis, where he states that “…diversity is a state of mind…”, and that true leaders understands how to leverage, rather than quash, diversity to better an organisation. Having worked internationally and faced a plethora of cultural conflicts, Albert has built immense cultural awareness, professional resilience and “…a thousand ways of saying ‘No’.” When asked by the audience on how to best handle the discomforts of working in new and challenging environments, Albert is swift to say that one simply has to take the time and learn how to deal with it. There is no way around it – to be a senior leader with a global footprint, one has to accept the good with the bad.
Routine is often the bedrock for driving high performance in elite athletes and musicians. For prominent leaders, such as Albert, this is no different. Albert shares with Kerridge & Partners and the audience the importance of adhering to his daily rhythm, which allows him separate out quiet thinking time from the busy ebb and flow of stakeholder interactions. By establishing routines that enable Albert to compartmentalize his day, he is able to address major issues and objectives with focus and decisiveness.
Many leaders are falsely led to believe that exerting power and dominance will garner a loyal following. Much the opposite, Albert is of the firm belief that leaders should not take themselves too seriously. Towards the end of our conversation, Albert reminds the audience that a sense of humour is vital to being an effective leader, as is the ability and willingness to show others that one cares.
And we concur. Albert was quick to mix and mingle with members of the audience after the event, and not without a smile or more pearls of leadership wisdom to share.
[We deeply thank Albert for his contribution to the Kerridge & Partners Leadership Series 2016. As a gesture of our appreciation, we have donated to Albert’s charity of choice, Genesis Oncology Trust]