Nia Thomas [00:00:01]:
Hello, and welcome to the Knowing Self, Knowing Others podcast where we discuss self aware leadership with thinkers from around the globe. I’m your host, Nia Thomas, and join me as I talk to today’s guest. Hi, listeners. Welcome to today’s episode. The We have the real pleasure today of being joined by Steve Barker. Steve is a distinguished Royal Air Force veteran from the UK,

Nia Thomas [00:00:28]:
the Same as me. And he has

Nia Thomas [00:00:28]:
an illustrious 26 year career in the service. Steve, I’m sure you’ve got a lot of stories to tell. The He made the move to Australia in 2013, so you’ve been there quite a while now. And he brings a wealth of worldly experience and knowledge to his work, which he acquired through a life dedicated to service and global exploration. Steve is renowned for his people centric approach the and his leadership experience and expertise in behavior. Steve leverages over 15 years of leadership training and mentoring experience to really empower others. He now lives in the inland city of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. The Steve’s a public speaker, a coach, a facilitator, mentor, and he guides individuals and groups towards achieving excellence in their respective pursuits.

Nia Thomas [00:01:15]:
One of the favorite places to be is by the sea paddle boarding and surfing. Steve, it’s really great to have you on the show.

Steve [00:01:23]:
The Thank you, Nia. Thank you so much for having me.

Nia Thomas [00:01:26]:
Tell us about your 26 year career in the RAF, and how does that link to now living in Australia?

Steve [00:01:34]:
The There’s a bit of a story behind it. So I joined the air force at 16 and a half years old straight from school. I joined as a telecommunications operator, the And that was before the digital age. So during that time, we migrated across to digital, which was a really exciting time. The When I joined up, the cold war was still on. The Berlin Wall was still up. My 1st overseas tour was in Germany, which was front line unit then. And we had the IRA who were trying to attack us as well.

Steve [00:02:02]:
They killed my corporal just a couple of weeks before I arrived in a ambush the station. So it was it was all going off. And, then Maggie and Gorbachev and Reagan got together and decided that the Cold War is over. The That pulled down the Berlin Wall, and my tour in Germany came to an end. Then moving around, I went around the world, the Going to all different postings, Cyprus, Germany, Gibraltar, Italy, to mention just a few. And then I became an adult instructor the And started to write trainings and stuff like that. And, ultimately, I was, picked to become a basic recruiting instructor, so I I became one of those the Drill sergeant very quickly realized that screaming and shouting at people doesn’t get you to where you need to be. So it was more of a mentoring role, the Which is kind of where I I started to discover coaching.

Steve [00:02:52]:
During my time in the air force, I was diagnosed with PTSD, and they wanted to give me antidepressant meds and other medications, the and I didn’t want to have any part of that. So I said I’d work out my own way. And that’s where I started to study human behavior, which is now what I use. So that was the the the story. Then at the end of my career, I got the opportunity to come to Australia in an exchange, the I came to the city of Wagga Wagga, not Wagga Wagga. Lots of people call it Wagga Wagga. I came to Wagga on an exchange training basic recruits. Basically, what happens is they send 400 Aussies and Kiwis to the UK and 400 Pommies to Australia, and we just swap jobs for 4 months.

Steve [00:03:32]:
The Now whilst I was here, you have some amazing opportunity, really good initiative. And whilst I was here, I met Shirley, the Came home after the exchange, and me and Shirley stayed in contact. And then she came to visit me on the Christmas. That’s when Shirley suggested, you know, why don’t you come and live in Australia? The I’ll sponsor you. So that was it. I packed up my bags and left the air force and moved to Australia. The Now when I arrived here in 2020 to 2013, I didn’t think that I’d end up as a as a coach. I thought I was gonna be going into IT project management because that’s the What I did in the air force.

Steve [00:04:08]:
So I had these international level degrees that I got as part of my resettlement from leaving the air force, the And they weren’t recognized by the Australians. They said, look. You got all the skills. You got all the experience, but you don’t have the right certificates. We don’t recognize these international the degrees. So you’re gonna have to go to TAFE, which is their equivalent of college. So I’d have to go to TAFE and do the training that I already knew the And reattain their certificates and then going get 5 years worth of experience. So I was like, I’m not doing that.

Steve [00:04:37]:
I I had an o level in drama for those of us who know what an o level is, which was way, way back. That was it. The Had no other education certificates. I thought, damn, what am I gonna do? So I started right at the bottom again. The I ended up working at the local cinema, picking up popcorn and cleaning cinemas with 14 year olds. And That’s Craig, who the is the cinema manager. He threw me a stick and said, look. I’ll I’ll give you a job, but I don’t think you’ll be here long.

Steve [00:05:07]:
You’ll be bored. And I actually became assistant manager within about a month, which enabled him to go away on holiday. And then I started to train the young people just like I’ve been training recruits, training young people the in how to prepare their their work clothes because they were turning up in unironed shirts and, you know, just generally looking like a bag of, nails. The And just so I taught them how to iron their uniform. And then in between films, because there’s not much to do, I said to them, okay. Why don’t we have a look at your resumes and if we can get you better jobs. Then we started to run little mock workshops on how to do interview techniques. So I started to move these young people through the That process.

Steve [00:05:46]:
I worked at the cinema for about 10 months, and then I went out to the airport. And, my task there was to turn around a the dysfunctional team. Again, using my leadership skills that I’d got in the military, I started to help train and develop and and turn this team around. And we went from about the 23rd or 24th on the screening table all the way up to 1st or 2nd. They never tell me whether we got 1st or 2nd. They just said you’re in the top 2. So the It safeguarded everybody’s jobs. They retained their contract with local council, and that was all good.

Steve [00:06:18]:
So then I left there, and I went to another job the Working with companies that make these big, huge grain silos. New South Wales is called the food bowl of Australia, And there’s lots and lots of agriculture around here. So come harvest time, they need places to store all their grain. The This company, we’re the biggest company on-site, so, therefore, the health and safety fell under their jurisdiction. They needed somebody to be able to write the all of their procedures, which is what I did. And, again, I was helping and mentoring and coaching people in that role. So Okay. It was definitely a theme developing here.

Steve [00:06:54]:
The And they’re they’re yeah. They’re not they they made me redundant because I’d I had done the work that they wanted, and they didn’t have anything else for me. And And my daughter was due to come out to Australia for the very first time, for 5 weeks. And I thought, well, if I go and get another job, I’m not gonna be able to see her because I’ll have to the Go to work. Nobody no new employer is gonna give me 5 weeks off work. So I thought I’ll just eke out my the Money that I’d saved. We make it last 10 weeks instead of 5 weeks. And in that 5 weeks that I had before she arrived gave me time to really consider what I wanted the To do.

Steve [00:07:27]:
And I’ve been talking to my partner for a long time about running my own business and training people. And she said, well, why don’t you take this opportunity to do that? The Take the opportunity to research how do you start your own business. And she found a thing on the Internet with a the The company that actually helps people set up their own coaching business, but also how to run a business. You know, what’s behind running a business? The I phoned them up and got involved in that. And at the time, it cost me $90,000, which is probably, what, about £45,000. World. So I had to sign up to that, but I had no job, no way of knowing if I was gonna be able to make this work. I managed to get a job with Anglicare, who are the A social working group, and I was working with kids in out of home care.

Steve [00:08:16]:
They’ve been removed from their homes for whatever reason, and I the was basically their role model, and that really helped me hone my coaching skills. I became a coach 7 years ago, officially. The And then through the training and working with Anglicare, I started to build my client list. First of all, I was working with Anglicare. That was my full time job. Coaching was just free because the I was doing lots of pro bono work. And then I became a full time coach just before COVID happened. So I’d been able to grow my coaching business the the point where it was able to support me.

Steve [00:08:51]:
I left Anglicare because of COVID. The young person I was looking after just didn’t make sense to have 4 people looking after the And my job at Anglicare sort of dissolved as COVID happened, so I really had to step into my coaching. The And about a year into COVID, my friend who I was being coached by so all good coaches should have coaches. If you if you go to a coach and you ask them, do they have any coaches, the They go, no. Don’t trust them is my my advice. Because, you know, if you don’t take your own medicine, then the It it it is, Yeah. It just doesn’t align with me. My coach at the time suggested, why don’t you go into leadership? And I said to him, well, what do I know about leadership? The And he was like, mate, what don’t you know about leadership? He knew what I’d done.

Steve [00:09:35]:
I I got promoted after my 1st 6 years in the air force. For 20 years, I’d the been in a position of leadership. Now the air force do if nothing else, they do really good training. The So we would have at least 1 leadership training every year. I was exposed to multitude of different leadership scenarios and different leadership types. The And when I actually sat down and thought about it, I thought, yeah. Yeah. I can definitely offer something in this the and then I combined it with my knowledge of human behaviour and these patterns of human behaviour.

Steve [00:10:10]:
And this is where I came up with a name for my leadership the Part of my business as Raw Leadership because I take leadership back to its rawest form and we the Strip it right back down to being able to communicate and effectively connect with other people and to add value. The Because that’s what a leader is in in its rawest form. A leader is somebody who has the opportunity or the ability to influence another human being. The Now to be able to do that, you have to have a relationship with them. You can be a leader and have no followers. That’s perfectly fine, but it’s pretty pointless. The So to be a leader, you have to have followers. And to have followers, you have to have relationships.

Steve [00:10:48]:
And to have relationships, if you wanna build those swiftly the And, effectively, then you need to be able to understand patterns of human behavior. And the other thing about being able to understand patterns of human behave behavior the is that we’re almost, like, 2 or 3 steps ahead of our people. And what I mean by that is that we understand the What they’re gonna do, how they’re gonna respond, how they like to be communicated with, what their problems will probably be, which means that we can preempt those the And bring the certainty that leaders bring in that situation. Then they’re gonna start to follow you because they feel safe. They feel safe around you. The Now you become attractive to them because you’re providing them with that level of certainty, that safety, security. The Yeah. You also provide them with new information, which is the uncertainty.

Steve [00:11:41]:
So you become a mentor to them. You then meet their need for significance because you see them as a human being, and you’re proving to them that they’re important, and they are important. And finally, you’re connecting with them. The Now this then leads to growth and contribution. And if anybody understands the model I’m talking about, the 6 core needs of human beings, the fundamental needs of human beings. It. And when we meet all of those resourcefully, people would hang around with us. And Yeah.

Steve [00:12:07]:
That’s what I help people do. The That’s the journey that got me from being a spotty 16 year old joining the air force to being, the Well, 53 years old, but I’m taking a couple of years back off at for COVID because I didn’t live them. So, yeah, 53 year old working in Wagga as a leadership coach. The So that’s the journey. It’s a bit of a long winded story, but I hope it it demonstrates that you can become whatever you want to become. The That time when I realized I didn’t have any qualifications, I moved to Australia, and I didn’t know where to start. And I just went back to the beginning, Start it all over again.

Nia Thomas [00:12:44]:
And so I can barely see when you were talking about starting in communication, moving into communication the training, then there’s a romance story in the middle, and then there’s taking you back to that training mentoring. So there’s Definitely a pattern there, isn’t there? There’s definitely a a journey that really fits together.

Steve [00:13:03]:

Nia Thomas [00:13:04]:
You’ve talked to us about your thoughts on what leadership the is

Steve [00:13:08]:

Nia Thomas [00:13:09]:
Within this podcast, we talk about self aware leadership. So if I ask you the question, what is self awareness, what what do you say to that?

Steve [00:13:18]:
It. And that’s a really good point because one of the things that I say to a lot of my clients is we have to be able to lead ourself first the before we can lead others. And for us to be able to lead ourself first, we have to have that self awareness. The Now self awareness is, I believe, how we are received by other people. The Not how we think we’re received by other people, but how we’re actually received. And one of the hardest questions in fact, I’ve got a coaching session after this with one of my the. And this is gonna be one of the things we’re talking about is that self reflection, that self perception. And how do we actually go about that? That’s the whole module that we’re gonna be talking about.

Steve [00:14:02]:
And one of the hardest questions as a as a leader or one of the most vulnerable points you can put yourself in as a leader is to ask your team, What’s it like to be on the other side of me? What’s it like to experience my leadership? If you got the courage to ask that question, the Then you must have a level of self awareness to actually already know that that’s how it works. Self awareness is around being able to catch yourself. The And one of the things that I talk about a lot within my trainings is that our our level of consciousness, our conscious level of thinking the sits at about 8 or 9%. About 8 or 9% of our whole being is consciousness, awareness. Then there’s about 17%, which is the subconscious, which is kind of there. It’s just bubbling away around underneath and, you know, and it suddenly pops up and then disappears again. And then the remainder is the unconsciousness. Now for us to be able to become self aware, we have to be able to work out how to bring the The thoughts or the feelings or the emotions up from the unconscious through the subconscious into the conscious.

Steve [00:15:10]:
And when it’s in the conscious, this is where we can be aware of it and retrain it, the rework with it, and then set it back to sleep again. And the principle that I use around this is helping people to the Capture their their patterns of behavior to be able to work out, you know, how their day’s been, what went well, what did what were their interactions with other people like? The By being able to raise your awareness to it, then you can start to do something when it’s only only when it’s in your conscious mind can you do something with it. So the For an awareness level, I ask people to tune in and reflect on how their day’s been. I use the 3, 2, 1 principle. Three things that went well. So if we review our day or review a conversation or review a project that we’ve completed, 3 things that went well. We want to have the Three positive things. Always have 3 positive things because the next thing is to go 2 things that didn’t go so well.

Steve [00:16:03]:
Yeah? So we’ve always got 1 in the back. Then out of those 2 things, what one thing can we improve? So this is how I call finding the 1 percentage.

Nia Thomas [00:16:15]:
The But what it does is it raises

Steve [00:16:16]:
our thinking, our awareness, our reflection on those the Three things that went well, 2 things that didn’t go so well, and one of 1 thing that we can improve upon. When we start to do this, and we do this repeatedly because, like any skill, it takes practice. The It’s just like driving a car. When you first learn how to drive a car, you’re hyper aware of everything that’s around you. Then, you know, 20 years on, I drive my car. The I’m still aware of what’s going on around me, but I just seem to appear at places where I I’m heading. And I’ve been listening to podcasts. It doesn’t mean that I’ve I’m totally unaware.

Steve [00:16:49]:
I’m Totally unaware. I’m just doing it on a subconscious level. So it’s just happening automatically. So if I go back and review that that journey, the Then I can go, okay. Well, you know, what happened at this junction? What was present? And I can recall that. And this is how I train myself the to become more self aware, and that’s how I can catch my language. So, you know, the Sometimes I I I well, a lot. There we go.

Steve [00:17:15]:
There’s an example. Sometimes I no. That’s not right. A lot. Because it’s not sometimes, it’s a lot. So I caught myself, the And that’s self awareness. A lot of the time, I practice the attitude of gratitude. But I have to remember that I’ve got to practice the attitude of gratitude so I can build in the skill.

Steve [00:17:31]:
The So for me, to answer your question, self awareness is is that ability to be able to capture yourself, to listen to yourself, the Just slow down your world so that you can enable that to happen. And when we can do that, we can then start to lead ourselves. The And it’s only when we can lead ourselves effectively that we can be an effective leader to others.

Nia Thomas [00:17:55]:
Steve, as you were talking, I was thinking the A lot of that is a deliberate conscious effort and activity. Now for some people, it comes us quite naturally. And I think if you’re more introverted, I think reflection is something that you you do minute by minute, hour by hour. But if if you’re not used 2, stopping and writing or stopping and reflecting. That’s something that you really need to get used to to how to build that into your day.

Steve [00:18:25]:
The This is where we bring in systems and structures and strategies. All the models that I talk about have frameworks around them. That that the 3, 2, 1 process I just spoke about. That’s a framework. Yeah. So we can then, write that down. You know, one of the things I often say to my clients who struggle with this is go and get some glass writing pens. You know, you can buy these pens that you can write on mirrors with.

Steve [00:18:49]:
If you go don’t know, just go to your local office the Works, and they’ll have them there. But then write on your bathroom mirror, 3 things that went well today, 2 things that didn’t go so well, one thing that I can improve. The And as you’re brushing your teeth, it’s there in front of you. So it reminds you, you know, if it’s a bit like, you know, I’ve got here Post it note. The I use Post it notes to remind me of things. What I do is I I write these things down in in prominent places. So the Post it note this morning was on my computer screen the Right in front of me. So when I opened up my laptop, there it is because I forget things.

Steve [00:19:23]:
I got other things that are running through my mind. So the I write it down, and I build a conscious effort to start to do these things. If it’s written down in front of me, then I’m whilst brushing my teeth, and I’m like, oh, yeah. Three things that went for well today. Okay. Alright. Well, what are they? Or, you know, I’ve even done it where I’ve put a a sheet of a 4 paper in my bed. When I got in the bed, I’m like, what’s that? And I read it.

Steve [00:19:49]:
So finding systems and strategies that enable you, the Because we’re all unique for you to be able to build that habit. And another example, I’ve just had to keep a motor mileage log for tax the purposes of my car. I have to record every single journey. Even if it’s just to the shops, it’s 2 kilometers away, I have to record it. Now the Reminding myself to do that became had to become a habit. I had to do it for 3 months. And, again, Post it notes, reminders on my phone. You know, I even had the A big orange blob put in the back window of my car.

Steve [00:20:25]:
Because when I reverse out of the garage, I looked in the rearview mirror, and it said, log. The I was like, right. Okay. Yep. Stop the car. Record the mileage. Those are the sort of things that I started to do. Now after 3 months, it became a habit.

Steve [00:20:40]:
The So I’d lit literally just jump in the car, fill out a log, start a mileage, so it became a habit. And they say that it takes 21 days to build a habit. The Now understanding patterns of human behavior as I do, I’ve written a book about this. It’s called The Habit Creator Journal. And the concept is that it takes 3 months to build a habit Because we’re human. Yeah. We make mistakes. We forget things.

Steve [00:21:04]:
So for us to be able to continually do something for 3 months, the Then it becomes part of our our thinking process, comes far part of our thought pattern, and it’s now burnt into our conscious the awareness. And that’s when we can pop it into the subconscious and just keep doing it. And if we notice that we’re forgetting every now and then, like, some people forget to do their their gratitude the journal or they you start to forget things, write it down. You go back to the system you used to develop that conscious awareness. Reinstall it. The Go again. Eventually, it will stick, but it is a process.

Nia Thomas [00:21:41]:
That’s interesting that I think Post it notes, lots of people will have heard of, the But I think putting a blob in your back window may be something people haven’t thought about. So, yeah, really think outside the box. Think think outside the garage if you need to. Mhmm. The Steve, you have created the 12 pillars of conscious leadership program. Tell us about those pillars, and maybe if you wanna pick 1 or 2 of those pillars, just tell us a bit more about them.

Steve [00:22:06]:
Sure. So the 12 pillars of conscious leadership and, again, there’s that word conscious because it needs to be the in our conscious mind for us to then start to be able to use these on a day to day basis. So it started with 12 pillars. I’ve now got 21. The So Cool. I’ve been adding to it. But what this enables me to be able to do is to create a bespoke program for my clients. The It’s a bit like plug and play.

Steve [00:22:31]:
I’ve now got these 21 different topics that I can go in and, you know, the share and coach and mentor around, which will help them grow their leadership skills. We still only do 12, so it’s a 6 month program, the And we do 2 coaching sessions per month. And, again, that’s a good cadence. That’s a good frequency to be able to keep the That learning fresh in their mind. I’ve tried it monthly because people have said, I don’t know if I can do 2 sessions a month. Can we do it monthly? And it doesn’t have the same impact. So the Every 2 weeks, having a coaching session is enough time for them to onboard this new information, raise their conscious awareness to the it. Start using it.

Steve [00:23:10]:
Start thinking about it. They’ve got me to support them. You know? They get unlimited support from me so they can phone me up at any point. The And then we move on to the next one, and we reflect and review. And over a period of time, what we do is we layer. We interlace almost like a jigsaw, the Putting together all of these different modules, and then they start to all make sense. I’ve already spoken to you about 2, the The three two one principle and the 6 core needs

Nia Thomas [00:23:36]:
of human beings. Okay.

Steve [00:23:38]:
The 6 core needs of human beings is the foundational way to be able to build a relationship. The And as I said, leadership is all about connecting with other people. Then there’s another one called meta filters. So it’s the ability to be able to the Work out how do we create reality. When we start to look at it and we go, okay. So this comes from an NLP model as well. It also comes from the coaching institute. The But when you look at meta filters, how do we actually create reality? You know, we’re getting bombarded with over 2,000,000 bits of information every second, every day.

Steve [00:24:12]:
And we can only process the the average people, the really clever people, so maybe some people with doctor in front of their name. Yeah. The They might be able to do 10 to 15, but the average person can do 9 to 12 bits of information. So we gotta take this 2,000,000 bits of information the And filter it down to 9 to 12 bits of information. And that’s what creates our reality. Now if we know what the filters are the that we’re using to filter this information, we can then start to pick the filters that are gonna be most relevant to ourselves. Or the In a leadership position, we can start to understand possibly the filters that other people are using. And because those filters, those 9 to 10 bits of information that we choose, the They get processed through our our mind and our ego, and that’s what creates our reality.

Steve [00:25:01]:
And that reality then impacts our behavior. The So as a leader, if you understand this process and you can have a pretty good guess, normally 90% accurate, the Of why. You you see somebody’s behavior, and then you’re like, okay. Well, why are they behaving that way? Because the behavior is a choice. Why are they behaving that way? The Then you go back up to the filters, and you’re like, okay. And if you’ve got to know them well, if you built the relationship with them and you understand them, then you got a a rough idea of the Possibly how they’re filtering that information. For a few questions, you can refine that even more. Then as a leader, you can start to suggest the other filters that they might want to look at it through.

Steve [00:25:40]:
And as they look at it through those different filters, they come up with different paradigms, different perspectives. The And, again, it still becomes a choice point for them because you can’t tell anybody to do anything. But if you say to them, well, would this choice the Suit you better than the choice you’re currently making. And they go, yeah. And you’re like, okay. Let’s give that a try. And as a leader, you should be with them because it’s the Scary trying on new thoughts. They say it’s okay.

Steve [00:26:05]:
I’ve got your back. I’m with you. Let’s try this. Let’s do this together. And we try this new filter. Now if this new filter works the And it’s of benefit to them. They’re probably gonna adopt it. We’ve now got 3 models that I’ve spoken about that we can put together.

Steve [00:26:19]:
Layer into that the needs of the ego. The layer into that emotions, you know, being able to understand emotions, especially I came from the military. I didn’t understand emotion. I knew 3 emotions when I left the military. 1 was the Joy. 1 was frustration. 1 was anger. Any other emotion didn’t understand it.

Steve [00:26:35]:
This is why I got PTSD. So I had to learn the How to process emotion. I had to understand what emotion is, how emotion happens in our body, that it goes through the limbic brain before it hits the frontal cortex. The It’s a chemical change before it’s even hit our frontal cortex. Yes. It happens in a fraction of a second, but it’s it’s only when it hits the frontal cortex the We give it a meaning. Otherwise, it’s just a chemical change in our body. So now I understand I’ve got no control over my emotions, so it just naturally happen.

Steve [00:27:04]:
The The meaning I give to that emotion is my choice. So I can now turn frustration into fascination. The And it doesn’t mean that I don’t get frustrated, but the impact that it has upon me is much less than it used to. So I can now start to create the world that I the live in, which is an amazing place to be from any perspective where we’re looking at this as a as a personal behavioral perspective or as a leader. The Because you’re again, we come back to that conscious awareness. You’re consciously aware of the things that you’re choosing. And if you’re consciously aware and the aware and you’re reflecting each day using the three two one principle. You can see whether your life is where you want it to be.

Steve [00:27:43]:
And if it’s not, it comes down to the choices we’re making. The So if we now understand the process of choices, then we can start to explore new choices, And then we can three two one that as well and see if that’s getting us closer to where we wanna go, or is it taking us further away? Because if it’s taken further away, they’ll stop doing it. But the taking us closer to where we wanna be, woo hoo. Happy days. We’re on. Yeah? Yep. That’s the principle behind the 12 pillars of conscious leadership is to be able to the These models of human behavior, they’re fact based, evidence based models of human behavior. Nearly 99% of people follow.

Steve [00:28:17]:
And if we can understand those, then we can start to consciously control our environment and lead ourselves.

Nia Thomas [00:28:23]:
Steve, this is fascinating. I I feel like I’m having a free mentoring session. It’s great. Tell me, when you have your coaching clients, do you notice that their the Self awareness changes dramatically or substantially when you’re working with them. And and have you had experience somebody who’s really had an moment from developing their own self awareness.

Steve [00:28:49]:
Yeah. Sure. It definitely the Definitely grows, you know, over the 6 month period. So one of the things that I I give my clients is I give them a, a questionnaire right at the very start the And where they feel they are in certain areas of their life, bit like the wheel of life. Yeah. And then at the end of it, we give them The same assessment, same questions. And, generally, we’re seeing a 40% growth over all of the areas. Over the 12 questions I asked them, there’s a 40% growth.

Steve [00:29:20]:
The So there’s that that’s the statistical evidence. Real life examples, the the guy that he has gone through the Professional personal development coaching with Mead, and he went on to leadership. He’s now on executive coaching. And he is working still same company, but was working here in Wagga. The And he wanted to become a better person. You know, he was married. He’d got 1 child at the time. He’s now got 2 children.

Steve [00:29:46]:
The He wanted to build his career. He wanted to invest in himself so that he could be the best husband, the best father, the best coworker the He could be. He sort of benefit in coaching. So he started working with me. And very quickly, he started to the see where he could improve his life. And, you know, it helped him in his personal relationship massively. The But even more than that, it started to get him noticed at work. Then he got promoted to the the region.

Steve [00:30:17]:
The They got promoted from being the salesperson to being a sales team leader for Wagga. Then he’s gone on now to become the team leader the For Victoria, for the entire state. So he’s moved to be closer to where he wants to be. He’s earning more money. So he’s able to live in a nice the house. He’s now got 2 children. His marriage is going from strength to strength. His his kids are growing up and enjoying life.

Steve [00:30:40]:
He’s able to provide for them, but he’s now the the the state manager for Victoria. And recently, he’d been now given the the state of Tasmania as well. So now he’s in charge of 2 states. But even more than this, he’s now going on a mentoring, using the the skills that we, you know, we discussed in the leadership training. He now goes on and mentors the South Australian the representative because the South Australia team have a lot to do with the Victoria team. And he felt the Victoria team, his team, was getting the held back by the South Australia team because they weren’t at the same level of of awareness. So he’s now coaching the Well, mentoring his his counterpart in South Australia

Nia Thomas [00:31:22]:
That’s impressive.

Steve [00:31:24]:
And is is using the materials that he’s learned and his skills within that area the help that team step up. And now he’s being noticed at a national level. That’s one example of a professional the Growth. And my one of my clients shared a story with me just the other day, and we’d covered the 6 core needs, so those 6 buckets that I spoke about. The And he went home because I encourage people to share it with their family because the best way to, I believe, to learn is to learn it, apply it to yourself, and then teach it to somebody else so country. Examples. So that’s what he did. He he tried it on himself, started to work it out, spoke to his wife about it, shared it with his wife, the And he came home.

Steve [00:32:07]:
And in their household, the rule is his wife does certain amount of jobs, and he does a certain amount of jobs, then they look after the kids together. Really, you know, good good process. Anyway, one of his roles is to do the ironing. Now he’d been out on a Sunday with the kids at sport. The You’re doing dad stuff. And he came home, and his wife was doing the ironing. And he went, oh, you’re doing the ironing for me. And she went, yes.

Steve [00:32:31]:
I just wanted to fill your bucket. The So, you know, she wanted to help him and and make him feel significant and connected and certain. And the uncertainty was that she was doing it for him. The So he was like and that made him feel all, like, warm and fuzzy inside. And he’s like, oh, thank you. That’s nice. Thank you. And a few days later, the He didn’t notice, but his wife had taught the principles of the buckets to his his daughter.

Steve [00:32:56]:
So his daughter, the Who’s about 12 or 13 was helping her little brother with something. And her brother turned around and said, thank you. And she went, that’s alright. I just wanna help you fill your buckets. The Oh, okay. When you look at it in this way, you know, what I I share with people helps them professionally and personally. The And the ripple effects. I wrote an article the other day about the ripple effects of leadership.

Steve [00:33:21]:
You imagine if you got a a a pond, And it’s just flat calm still like a piece of glass. Yeah? You throw a rock into the middle of that pond, the That’s the impact of your leadership. It had a splash. Then the ripple effects. Those are the ripple effects of your leadership. The Now those ripple effects we know go all the way out to the edge of the pond. And in some cases, if the if the ripple effect is strong enough, the It reflects back in and comes back in again. So depending on your leadership, whether it’s, you know, good leadership or poor leadership, it’s gonna have a ripple effect.

Steve [00:33:59]:
This is why it’s super important as a leader to try to make the best choices you can

Nia Thomas [00:34:08]:
the As often as you can.

Nia Thomas [00:34:08]:
Absolutely. And that really does resonate with what I talk about is modeling behavior and that that the That you create as a leader stretches far further than you’re going to stretch arms. One of my layers of self awareness, so it has a it’s a 3 layer definition, and it’s the Reflection on your skills, recognition of your impact, and regulation of your behavior. And as you were saying, that recognition is is the ripples going out, and the regulation of your behavior is that All those ripples coming back. Tell us a bit about your thoughts on how authenticity the Plays out in this. Because I think when we are talking about leadership, we are talking about self awareness. We are talking about wanting to be the best person that you can be. You have to know what your values are.

Nia Thomas [00:34:54]:
You have to know what your strength, your weaknesses are. What where does authenticity fit in in amongst all of that?

Steve [00:35:01]:
The I often talk about being authentic leader because many people feel that because they’ve been promoted. The You know, most people it happens in the air force. You get promoted because you’re good at your job, and you might have a few leadership skills there. The They don’t get promoted because they’re good at leadership, and they’re good with people. And then they get thrown into this this role and responsibility of the Being a a leader, you know, hate to use the word a boss, a manager, or supervisor because I’m trying to get away from that. I prefer using the word in a leadership role. So

Nia Thomas [00:35:36]:
the There they are. They’re just being promoted,

Steve [00:35:36]:
and they don’t know what to do. It’s a bit like being a parent. You know, if you’ve ever been a parent, there’s no there’s no the Book. There’s no manual on being a parent, you know, hunt you know, parenting for dummies. You know, isn’t it’s because we all do it differently. The So what what do we do? We go and look at the people. This is the role modeling you talk about. You know, we go and look at the people who’ve done that before us.

Steve [00:35:57]:
So in the event of a the Parent is our parents, you know, or our friends or our parents’ parents, and we take what we know from them and we apply it. The We want to be able to be authentically us, but sometimes we can’t. We feel like we have to wear a mask. Oh, I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do that. The When I first got promoted in the Air Force, I was working in FlightWatch, which was a job where we listened out for aircraft who were calling us for assistance, the You know, weather or communication net networking, things like that. And it was both for civilian and military aircraft, and we had 4 frequencies that we had to listen to. The And when I got promoted, the area where I was working was a great big long haul with all these radio banks along it.

Steve [00:36:42]:
The And there was a table up on a raised platform, which is where the the sergeant used to sit in the corporal. Now some of the corporals, I was promoted corporal, some of the corporals would still down on what I call the shop floor. But when I got promoted, I didn’t know what to do. Like, one day, I was an airman. Next day, I was a corporal. The And so I looked at my sergeant. I was like, what do I do? And he went, you come and sit up here with me. And I was like, okay.

Steve [00:37:05]:
And he said, and your job is to make sure that the The guys, the SACs, do their job properly. So no feet on the desk, no mucking around. They they’re there to work. So I was like, oh, okay. He says, you know this. You just come from that role. And I was like, yeah. He would see them doing stuff, and then he’d say to me, Steve, the You need to go and tell them to take their feet off the desk or they missed that call or they’re late back from lunch or whatever it was.

Steve [00:37:28]:
But it was always in the negative stuff. The I’d go down there, and not knowing what to do, I would bark orders at them. You’re late back from lunch. You know, the way that I’d go on, and then you think it was the end of the world, not 10 minutes late back from lunch. The These were the guys I was working with 2 weeks before. Now I’m sitting up on this big table. A Couple of weeks after that, I’ve started to get feedback from these guys. They went, Steve, you’ve turned into the person you said you’d never turn into.

Steve [00:37:53]:
And I went, well, I don’t know. I’m I I’m just doing what the The sergeant tells me to do. And, yeah, yeah, they said, yes. But other corporals don’t behave that way. You know, you’re role modeling the wrong person. The What what does what does what does Tony do? What does Greg do? What does Brian do? And I’m like, well, they all sit down with you guys. Exactly. So why are you sitting at work? Because the sergeant told me, the Mate, stop being an a hole.

Steve [00:38:17]:
You’re not an a hole. We know you’re a good good bloke, but you’re actually starting to portray this because I was basically wearing a mask. I wasn’t being authentically myself. The So it took a lot of courage to turn around to my sergeant at the time and say, hey. I’m not sitting up here with you anymore. I’m gonna go back and sit down with the guys. And he was like, well, you won’t be able to control them. You won’t be able to you know? And he was very autocratic in his leadership style, not my leadership style.

Steve [00:38:38]:
Then I started to

Nia Thomas [00:38:42]:
the Go down and work out what my leadership style and

Steve [00:38:42]:
how I could have those conversations and how I could, you know, enforce boundaries without being that dictatorial, you know, autocratic leadership style. So it took me a while. But if I hadn’t had that feedback from my friends, I might have not have had the the Conviction or the courage to be the leader that I wanted to be. So this is why authenticity is important. And this is why you you you, again, Come back to feedback, which is another topic I talk about in my leadership coaching. You know, being open to feedback, being able to take that sometimes criticism. And what can you do with it? You know, you use the three two one principle again. You know, 3 things that went well, 2 things that didn’t go so well, one thing that I can improve.

Steve [00:39:20]:
Just improve on one thing at every stage. You improve by 1% every day of the year, you’d be 365% better by the end of the year.

Nia Thomas [00:39:28]:
It’s not

Steve [00:39:29]:
a bad return of investment. The Being authentic is just again, comes back to that conscious awareness, comes back to how am I being received the other people. How am I putting information through my filters and creating my reality, which impacts my behavior? For us to be the An effective leader, I think we need to be authentic. Like you mentioned, you have to know your core values. Your core values, one of my mentors described them as a moral compass. The You know what your core values are, then you know what you’ll stand for and what you won’t stand for. If you’re not clear on your core values, it’s that old Phrase, if you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for everything. It’s so true.

Steve [00:40:08]:
Yep. So when we start to look at this, this is where I call doing the inner work, the Which is the professional personal development. Doing the inner work, getting clear on who you are as an individual will then enable you to raise your conscious awareness and the have boundaries around who you are and know that you can still be authentically you and still be an effective leader. You’re probably even more effective if you’re authentically you, but that takes courage rather than falling into the mold, especially if we’re in the world of corporate. The You know, another example is, at the moment, I’m wearing a T shirt. You know, if you’re listening to this on podcast, you can’t see it. But my normal the Uniform is is a t shirt with either black trousers, or black sort of cargo pants and cut very colorful runners. That’s My unique thing, I I love wearing colorful runners.

Steve [00:40:58]:
In the summer, I wear shorts. Now I went to a leadership conference. I was part of the team hosting it. And they said, Steve, you can’t turn up looking like that. And I was like, why not? And they said, because we’re in front of corporate. And I was like, yeah. But, you know, if they’re worried about what I look like, they’re not my type of person. They they should be interested in what I’ve gotta share, not what I look like.

Steve [00:41:18]:
So, anyway, the In that instance, I went with a corporate look. So I put a shirt on and a pair of a pair of pants and, some boots and felt really uncomfortable because I wasn’t wearing my normal the attire. I did that because the group oh, there was there was 7 of us, and I didn’t want to jeopardize their opportunity. So I was like, okay. I’ll come forward. The However, I’m gonna be running the same thing same conference here in Wagga in February. So I’ve got an international leadership conference hosted in Wagga. The Now I’m gonna be turning up on stage wearing what I normally wear, my T shirt, my highly colorful runners, and my black cargo pants.

Steve [00:41:53]:
And the That’s me. That’s authentically who I am. Yes. The room is gonna be full of business people and corporate and all of that sort of stuff. But I’m me. The I can be authentically me, and therefore, I can then shine through and share with them the value. It’s not about what I’m wearing. If you’re worried about what I’m wearing, the Yeah.

Steve [00:42:12]:
And you say, well, he’s not gonna be a good leader because he’s not wearing a suit or a tie. He’s not conforming with everybody. He clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The That’s your preconception. I can’t do anything about that. And if that’s your preconception and you’re looking for a leader or a leadership coach the falls into that, then go and find them. There’s plenty of them out there. But if you’re interested in the material that I gotta share and how you can become a authentic leader the And be who you wanna be, then stick around because that’s what I’m gonna share with you.

Steve [00:42:44]:
So that’s how you become authentic, I think.

Nia Thomas [00:42:46]:
The I like that example. Yeah. We do we do judge people by by their clothes, don’t we? But I think COVID definitely changed that. The You recently founded the Audacious Leadership Facebook group. What is audacious leadership?

Steve [00:43:02]:
The leadership is the willingness to break the mold. So stepping out of that the Traditional leadership role. I often talk about there’s a leadership revolution happening right now. The Now I haven’t been back to the UK for a couple of years. I came back a couple of years ago to see my daughter get graduate. But the I think and from my research, it’s the same in the UK. It’s definitely the same in Europe. It’s definitely the same in the States as as it is in Australia.

Steve [00:43:34]:
They talk about this skill shortage the There’s not enough people in the workplace. Well, this is because during COVID, a lot of people lost their jobs or had the to change their jobs. And when COVID released us and our governments released us and we all went back out to the work world, all of a sudden, there was this the a myriad of different jobs available. People were going out and going, oh, I’ve gotta find a new job. This is gonna be difficult. And they walked into the job market, the And there was thousands of jobs. And they were like, oh, oh, this is good. I’m gonna have a go at that.

Steve [00:44:08]:
Oh, I just wanted to try that. Let’s try that. So they started to go out and try jobs the Now the other thing that became really prevalent is that the younger generations, the millennials and the gen zeds, and soon to be the gen alphas, have Completely different upbringing to myself. I’m a I’m a gen x. And then the baby boomers, they’ve got a completely different perspective. And the way that they were brought up and schooled and the And developed completely different. So they started to go into these workplaces, which hadn’t evolved, hadn’t changed. It hadn’t changed in the industrial age.

Steve [00:44:41]:
You have to be there at 9 o’clock. You have to work till 5. We got these KPIs, these targets. And if you hit all those targets, you’ll get paid, and you should be grateful that you got a job. Yeah. That’s what happened in the industrial age. It’s not moved on since then. These young people then looked around and went, the Stuff this.

Steve [00:44:58]:
I’m not working here. I don’t like this. This is shit. So they then left because they knew that it was easier to find a job. They went off and tried another job, and And they tried another job and they tried another job until they find the place where they are valued, where they’re cared for, where they’re seen as a human being, the Where their needs are met, where they’re connected, where they can grow and develop, and that’s when they’ll settle down. We don’t have a skill shortage. What we have is a massive the Churn of people moving around the job market at the moment, I call it the Goldilocks effect where they’re actually trying on Different jobs. Now this comes down to the leadership because everything rises and falls on leadership.

Steve [00:45:38]:
A fish rots from the head down. The So if we’ve got old school industrial way of thinking leaders who are still stuck around KPIs and you must work in a work environment. You can’t work from home. There. No blended working Teams or Zoom. Why should we use that? What’s wrong with face to face meetings? And you you I’m sure you’ve met these these people. The They’re still out there. They’re dinosaurs.

Steve [00:45:59]:
Then this is what’s happening. We’ve got this churn happening within the workplace at the moment. And that’s why leadership needs to change. Because if we, as leaders and like I said, I’m a Gen X. If I was running a business, I didn’t change my leadership within my business and changed the culture because the culture comes from the leadership. If I don’t change that, the Then I’m gonna constantly have the churn of people moving through my business, which becomes frustrating as well as being extremely expensive. And that’s where we get this attitude of millennials. Oh god.

Steve [00:46:32]:
They’re bloody entitled. Not entitled. They just want good quality leadership. They won’t tolerate poor quality leadership. This is what I think is happening in in the workplace at the moment, the And this is why it’s important for leaders to be good high quality leaders, but people centric leaders, but even more than that, to be authentic leaders. The And we’re now starting to see millennials in leadership positions, and they are disrupting the leadership process as well because they’re now leading up. The And the dinosaur leaders, the industrial age leaders who are not willing to change are now getting their nose put out a joint, but, ultimately, They will become extinct.

Nia Thomas [00:47:13]:
I think that the paradigm is in front of us. Steve, just before we go, remind listeners of the name of your new book.

Steve [00:47:21]:
The Yes. So I’ve just got a new book being released. It’s called Redefining Leadership. It’s a 101 the Leadership tips. So audacious leadership tips to help those people who want to become an audacious leader. As I said, the audacious leader is breaking the mold, the Changing the way that we lead. And this book, it started off with just the concept of of writing tips. But then I I suddenly realized the It didn’t fit comfortably with me that it’s alright telling somebody a tip, but if you don’t tell them how to implement it or how to use it, it’s no good.

Steve [00:47:55]:
So the This book is morphed into, 101 tips with directions on how you can implement them.

Nia Thomas [00:48:02]:
Brilliant. We will make sure that there is a link the to your book and your website, on the show notes so that listeners can get in touch with you.

Nia Thomas [00:48:11]:

Nia Thomas [00:48:11]:
Steve, I’ve had a brilliant conversation. I’m glad we we managed 2. Get this in the diary at last. I think we’ve probably been talking for about 18 months to try and get this in the diary, but I’ve really enjoyed it. The Please let us know if you’re gonna be having any workshops that maybe listeners can link in on Zoom or Teams, or the We can join you when you’re in Australia, maybe we’re in the UK so that we can join you again because I I think this conversation is is one that I I’d Really love to listen to more of. So listeners, if you want to listen to more of of what Steve has to say, you’ll find links in the show Steve, thank you so much for joining me. It’s been really interesting.

Steve [00:48:48]:
Thank you, Nia. Thank you so much for having me, and thank you very much for allowing me to share what it the I do. I greatly appreciate it, and I’m glad that we were able to make it happen.

Nia Thomas [00:48:56]:
Brilliant. Thank you, Steve. Thank you for joining me on today’s episode. Please remember to leave a rating review on your favorite podcast platform because a little word from you means a big deal to me. The you can also sign up for my newsletter on my website, knowing self, knowing others Join me next week when we discuss self aware leadership hip with thinkers from around the globe to generate kinder, more respectful, and creative working relationships through reflection, the recognition and regulation. Looking forward to having you on my learning journey.

Looking forward to having you on my learning journey!



Nia is an expert leader who talks the talk and walks the walk.  She is an academically awarded thought leader in self-aware leadership and practices self-aware leadership every single day in her role as a Director in a Children’s Charity.

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