Leadership is A Relationship Of Consistency

When it comes to a common operating picture or consensus for leadership it is often hard to find one. There are so many varied definitions of leadership, just a simple Google search and you will discover at least 20 before getting onto page 2. Each of these definitions though provides us with a lens through which we can think about leadership to inform our perspectives, approaches and attitudes towards leadership. Each of them have some kind of merit but very few get to the heart of a leader and really consider gravity of leadership.

I have been reflecting on recently on a definition of good leadership that I believe is actually very powerful, it is; ‘leadership is a relationship of consistency’. The reason I love it so much is that it focuses on the two things as leaders we often forget about as leaders. We forget about the power we have through our relationships and forget that consistency is such a key competent in building trust and safety within an organisation.  So let’s break these two points down and explore them individually before we bring them back together.

Relationships

Ultimately leadership is influence and the way we use our influence is through our relationships. It’s a natural part of being human, we are influenced by the people around us and we also, in return, influence them. Humanity is constantly partaking in this cycle of influence and most of us fail to recognise not only the influence that people have on us but primarily the influence that we have on others. Maybe it’s a reflection of our humility that we don’t assume what we do or say has an impact on anyone else but when you step back and analyse the power of your influence, you really start to realise the impact that you are having on those around you.

Often as leaders without that reflection we become absorbed with our own needs and wants rather than the needs of others. I was recently listening to a talk from Simone Sinek and he says “the cost of leadership is self-interest”. Essentially this is the opposite of good leadership, when we become self-absorbed as leaders and focused on our own interests, the relationship with those in our team or those we are leading takes the greatest impact. As leaders our focus should be on setting out to serve those we are leading we rather than using them for personal gain. Quite often when we act out of self-absorption or pride or for status, we leave the people around us behind.

Relationships are the capital we use to lead and how we build our vision. A leader without followers and strong relationships isn’t a leader at all so therefore a leaders most important asset is their relationships. With relationships that build a great culture then a leader is halfway there because relationships are only 50% of this equation.

Consistency

Consistency is the golden leadership key, it’s all well and good to have an idea for the future or run a team building day or create some model of change within a team but without consistency across our leadership we will never be successful. Consistency is so important in our ability to build a great culture within the organisations we are leading. Consistency plays out through four key aspects:

  1. Consistency means that the people you are leading know who you are and what you stand for, you are consistent with your approach to leadership and culture. This means that as a leader you know your values well and you know why you turn up to work every day. The vision of your organisation is clear and it’s not just a poster on a wall you are the living breathing embodiment of what It means to work at your organisation.
  2. Being present! A leader needs to be mindful of the ways they are turning up to work or school or to their organisations and how consistent their behaviour and their approach are. This is why at Burn Bright, I favour flexibility over working at home. If you ask my team they know that I don’t love it when they work from home. The reason for this is that if I am not turning up and they aren’t either, how are we supposed to build our culture and shape our values and vision if we are never together as a team? The greatest team building conversations happen when we are all in the office together. These conversations keep us aligned and on the same page.  It would be almost impossible to truly lead a team of people, like we have at Burn Bright, without regular face to face interaction with them so we can put into action all the things that we model back to the young people we work with.
  3. Emotional regulation is the sign of adulthood and it is definitely the sign of a great leader. This doesn’t mean you don’t show emotion, on the contrary, it actually means that the people your leading don’t have wonder what version of you they are going to get today and no matter how things are going at work they know that they will get a version of you as a leader that is level headed and fair. As this in turn affects how the people you are leading have to regulate their own behaviours because if a different version of you keeps showing up then your team ends up worn down managing their own emotions based upon yours. When your team knows who you are and what you stand for then they get an opportunity to feel safe and empowered in an authentic culture. This is consistency within leadership!
  4. Consistency also doesn’t mean we never change how we do things. What it means is when we change, we change in line with the vision we have set out for ourselves. If we have consistency with change it means that the map has been laid our for your team and everyone is clear upon the direction. A lack of consistency would look like constant change for changes sake or every time a leader has a new idea we change direction.

When we have consistency, we have emotional stability at work and we know with emotional stability, we can create an environment where those we are leading flourish!!

Relationships and Consistency

Ultimately, leadership is great when these two concepts play out together.  Without relationships we don’t have followers and therefore leadership is null and void but without consistency within those relationships, the people we are leading struggle to find safety and stability when they come to work. Relationships build a culture and consistency maintains the culture!

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I found Burn Bright in the midst of studying civil engineering at the University of Wollongong, just as I wanted a richer, deeper, more full experience of life.

Through Burn Bright, I have met many students and volunteers who are all seeking to find their place in the world. When we come together at NLC or SLC, no matter our age, we begin on the same page, of wanting to do good for ourselves, our community, and the world. And then we are thrown into a program that brings us closer to each other, our purpose, and how to bring forth this impact. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

Volunteering with Burn Bright stoked a fire in me – It helped me feel comfortable in myself and made me realise life isn’t just about work, study, or productivity, but our relationships and how we connect with others along the way.

I have learned skills in videography, worked for a top-tier corporation in marketing, and most recently published a book called “18 and lost? So were we” 

I have a passion for storytelling, bring loads of energy wherever I go, and am dedicated to helping young people move through the initiation of leaving high school and going into the ‘real world’. 

The best part for me is being able to stay connected to the latest generation growing through high school. To see them grow, expand and express more of themselves is like watching an artwork paint itself. It’s magic.

I am Simon Thurston, a Kiwi based in Perth. I work as an Instructional Designer and in my spare time I enjoy reading, running, and board games.

Since my initial connection to Burn Bright I have been onboard with their mission. Burn Bright’s focus on building the capabilities enables students of all ages to see how they can shape their world through connections with others and their own self discovery.

Seeing others grow, learn, and open up is what keeps me coming back, to help others realise their potential and how they can influence their future and their community is a definite highlight. It’s infectious, the atmosphere when they run a program or camp is welcoming, exciting, emotional, and rewarding all in one.

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Hi, friends! I’m Kelsie, a psychologist from central QLD working in private practice. I got involved with Burn Bright officially in 2016, but the journey started long before that. I attended the National Leadership Camp (now hosted annually by Burn Bright) in 2009. It had such a profound impact on me that I returned as a mentor and volunteer. Those connections ultimately lead me to joining the Burn Bright team as an adult.

When I transitioned from facilitating with the Burn Bright team to working as a psychologist, I was so grateful for an incredible foundation of skills (particularly facilitation, communication and interpersonal skills) along with a strong grounding in positive psychology that Burn Bright integrates into their ethos.

I can’t imagine my life without volunteering for Burn Bright. I have met some of my dearest friends through the Burn Bright crew. I’ve found that volunteering for BB is rewarding, humbling, and often brings as much personal growth for the volunteer as it does for the young person.

From a professional perspective, I love that Burn Bright programs/camps support the adolescent individuation process by providing an exciting and supportive environment for teens to explore their own sense of self, personality, identify and values alongside other young people.

Imagine this POV: you’re back at school wanting to figure everything out and fit in – and you find
yourself in a room with amazing music that uplifts you and hooks you in. You meet the team of
dynamic, interesting, caring facilitators whose own friendships inspire you. Their facilitation skills bring about amazing light-bulb moments and lessons that light a fire inside you… It makes me want to feel that for myself again. The next best thing, for me, is volunteering for the team who passes that on to other young people.

My start at Burn Bright is one of the best cases of one door closing and another door opening. After losing my job at a local pub while on uni holidays, I started looking for new opportunities that were different and decided to volunteer. Searching for opportunities, I found working bees, community driving and nursing home visits, but the chance to become a National Leadership Camp intern stood out. Over nearly six months, I worked with the team to pull off Burn Bright’s first National Leadership Camp, and had an absolute blast in the process. After camp, I started working for Burn Bright while studying, doing anything and everything — data analysis, hiring strategy and even picking up furniture.

Finishing up working for Burn Bright in 2019, I am still actively involved with the Burn Bright volunteer community. I’ve found that the emphasis placed on investing in your relationships, understanding your values and making an impact allow you to be accepted for you. This has given me the tools needed to make the difficult decisions that life will inevitably throw at you. Besides all that, I’ve had a ton of fun and formed life-long friendships with people I may have never crossed paths with otherwise. “Get involved — you’ll change your life for the better and make life‑long friends in the process”.

I am a health science student from Perth wanting to get into the mental health realm of occupational therapy. In the meantime, I work as a barista and supervisor at a beachside café. In my spare time, I love to play netball, be around my friends and I have just gotten into crocheting. I went to Perth College where I was lucky enough to go to the first Perth College Leadership Camp in 2018 as a student and absolutely loved it. What really drew me in was the atmosphere that was created, the open conversations, and the lasting relationships formed.

Since then I have been a mentor for the Perth College Leadership Camp in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and had the opportunity to go to the National Leadership Camp in 2019. When Burn Bright comes to Perth I also love helping out at their programs as much as I can.

Volunteering for Burn Bright has given me so much that I could never have imagined. I have learned so much about myself and I have so much more confidence in myself and my abilities that I know I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t exposed to the amazing opportunities volunteering for Burn Bright has given me. Before being involved I would never have seen myself being a mentor, role model, and facilitator to students, but now I can confidently say that I am, and I have made an impact on others that I am proud of. I have also made so many meaningful connections to so many amazing people from all around Australia through Burn Bright. I get asked quite a bit why I keep coming back to my old school to volunteer and it’s simply because I was given this amazing opportunity to be a part of the Burn Bright programs and if I can help facilitate that experience to someone else then why wouldn’t I?

I was born in Perth and moved to Sydney in my early 20’s to continue work as a youth worker and surfboard maker. This was followed by 30 years working in IT as a computer programmer.

Following retirement in 2016 I searched for an organisation that was aligned with my values of servant leadership and service, especially in the youth space. This search led to Burn Bright where I am now volunteering one day a week and mentoring at the National Leadership Camp. Volunteering with Burn Bright gives me a great deal of hope and confidence in the next generation of leaders. It is a pleasure to be a part of the Burn Bright family.

I have been married to Denise for 41 years and we both very much feel part of the Burn Bright team.

When not at Burn Bright you may find me running along Manly beach, riding my mountain bike or indulging in my passion for photography.

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Hi! I’m Rosie, a 20-something full-time public servant, part-time Tassie tourism advocate.

I am passionate about seeing young people succeed, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching them become the next generation of change-makers.

I have been a champion of the ethos and work of Burn Bright since its inception in 2014, and consider them to be the leading experts in their field. By delivering impactful leadership and wellbeing programs to students across Australia, they offer the knowledge, skills and engagement to invoke lasting positive change in school communities.

The Burn Bright team are dedicated, inclusive and values-driven, which is why I love working with them.

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