Leadership Excellence at Downer (LEaD1)
Downer is the leading provider of integrated services in Australia and New Zealand. It works closely with its customers to design, build and sustain assets, infrastructure and facilities. The Group employs approximately 56,000 people across more than 300 sites, primarily in Australia and New Zealand and also in the Asia-Pacific region, South America and Southern Africa.
A long-term client, Downer approached Leadership Dimensions two years ago with a desire to further support their frontline leaders.
We know that clients who invest significantly in their employees develop competent and confident people who build skills, knowledge and experience within the organisation, often leading to those individuals being promoted. Companies who are adept at identifying this talent are also proficient in setting new managers and leaders up for success. Early on, Downer recognised the importance of investing in its frontline leaders and one of its strategies was to partner with Leadership Dimensions to develop a highly customised, nationally accredited qualification aligned to the BSB42015 Certificate IV in Leadership and Management.
The program is modularised to suit the different business divisions across Downer, all of which have varying requirements around how the training needs to be delivered. For example, employees from remote mining projects will require a different solution to those on working on rail or gas projects.
Three years on, this program – having being delivered to 350 Downer employees across Australia – has developed a solid reputation for being able to impart the tangible, practical leadership skills needed on the ground.
Candice Mesecke, Executive Manager, Organisational Development & Change at Downer says: “Developing our leaders is key to our overall business performance. Our frontline leaders are responsible for delivering results for our customers in a safe manner, on time and on budget. They lead groups of diverse employees and are therefore key drivers of the business’s success. LEaD1 (our internal name for the program) needed to be dynamic and relevant if it were to create a shift in mindset and improve performance. Downer’s frontline leaders are incredibly astute individuals who work in no-nonsense environments, so we developed a program that aligned to their operating environment and challenges, and was also highly engaging. This has been achieved through clever learning design and outstanding facilitation from the Leadership Dimensions team of approved Downer trainers.”
Broken into themes essential for frontline leaders, the accredited BSB42015 Certificate IV in Leadership and Management face to face delivery components is broken up into four modules:
Leadership Communications – 2 days
Leading Teams – 2 days
Planning, Prioritising and Undertaking Project Work – 2 days
Customer and Stakeholder Management – 2 days
Candice says, “We chose to align the training to the BSB42015 Certificate IV in Leadership and Management so we had a structure for our people to demonstrate solid outcomes. Our people enjoy working towards an accredited qualification and our customers enjoy the benefits of a skilled supervisory workforce. We are proud of the outcomes of the program and the results on the ground, which LEaD1 has managed to generate at Downer within a relatively short time frame.”
With many opportunities in the program to reflect on their attitudes and beliefs, learners say their insights into their own leadership style directly impacts their ability to communicate more effectively, draw on a wider range of leadership skills in challenging situations, and be more mindful about their leadership approach.
One learner said: “I’ve found it really useful to take time away from the work-site to look at the way I lead others, my underlying beliefs, and the way it all comes out in my communication with others. Understanding the concept of “Above the Line” and “Below the Line” behaviours (taking accountability, ownership and responsibility vs blame, excuses and denial) has been really eye opening. I can think of so many examples of times I was leading with “Below the Line” behaviours that just don’t get the best out of people. I can now see how the way I am (as a leader) has a direct impact on the behaviours of those around me and the results we can achieve.”
Thanks to Candice from Downer for speaking to us.
Find out more about Downer