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7 leadership lessons from a fabulous role model

6a00e551f1f5158833010534d0922e970c-320wiLast week members of our group mentoring program Take the Lead were treated to perhaps the most content rich session we’ve had in the 12 months the program has been running: Avril Henry sharing leadership tips from her 30 year career spanning line management to senior executive roles to becoming one of the world’s foremost experts on leadership and diversity.

Avril is an amazing role model and I’m always humbled by her willingness to share in detail her experiences, lessons learned and leadership advice to a level of detail that really turns the lights on and shows you the way. I’d say I learned more from the hour that Avril shared with us on Thursday than I’ve gleaned from more than a dozen leadership books I’ve read in the past year.

So here are a summary of Avril’s top 7 tips – to hear the full discussion you can sign up for the program at and receive a CD recording of the entire interview.

  1. Always do your homework. Be aware of what’s going on around you, do the research and ask for what you deserve. For example, if you’re asking for a payrise, research what 10 comparable roles are paying and go into the negotiation armed with this knowledge.
  2. Take risks and be prepared to try things that don’t sit comfortably. Taking risks gives you the opportunity to multi-skill yourself. The worst thing that can happen is you fail. And if you do, so what? At least you’ve learned something along the way.
  3. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, you’re short changing yourself. You might be good at what you do, but do you really love it?  And if not, how is this manifesting?
  4. Sell yourself. No one owes you anything. If you don’t sell yourself and you don’t believe in yourself, then why should anyone else?
  5. Don’t underestimate the power of good mentors and role models. Avril’s mentors have included Ann Sherry and Wendy McCarthy, who has said “one good mentor enables ordinary people to do extraordinary things”.
  6. It’s not all about you. To make change happen, it’s almost smarter to let others take the credit. If they buy the idea and own it, they’re more likely to support it through to implementation.  Which ultimately leads to success for you.
  7. Learn the value of letting go. Things will happen in your personal and professional life that we don’t always like; some things you can change and some things you can’t. If you can’t change the situation then the only choice you have is how you choose to react.

Who are your role models and mentors and what have you learned from them? Share your experiences and comments at and the best comment this week will win a copy of “Apprentice to Business Ace: your inside-out guide to personal branding”.

And congrats to Helen who’s won a copy of Little Wins for Working Women for the comment she posted on last week’s blog. Based on Helen’s feedback, our next group mentoring session will be led by NFP leader Jessica Brown from Life Changing Experiences.


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