Sarah-Jane Dunford has already experienced a diverse career path, but all with the same end-goal of ensuring the safety of her colleagues, clients and friends.
As the founder of Riskology Consulting, a workplace safety consultancy, she is a passionate leader in her field who works hard to communicate vital safety messages in a non-threatening and creative way. She is also committed to the community, having provided over $80,000 worth of free services to local charities and not-for-profits, since the establishment of Riskology in 2010.
SJ is also the driving force behind the inaugural Hunter Safety Awards, created to recognise and celebrate local businesses and individuals who themselves are leaders in safety.
For a snapshot of our audio interview with Sarah-Jane Dunford, please view the above video.
TO READ THE EDITED INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE SEE BELOW.
- Throughout your career have you witnessed any leadership traits that struck you as particularly effective (or ineffective)?
I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum.
Effective leadership traits I’ve seen where, particularly big business where they’re real go getters, there will be quite a senior manager who knows everybody’s names including employees right down on the shop floor. He’ll be able to have a normal conversation with you about your family, BBQs on the weekend and then get back to business.
He or she will be in a meeting and talk about an idea that they’ve thought about a week beforehand and we’re all just trying to catch up with the ideas.
With the leadership traits, even if someone is really intelligent and comes up with these ideas, there’s still the consultation with the team, so it’s on the level that we all understand and we come up with the ideas again.
Ineffective leadership traits I’ve seen particularly people that are quite bossy and headstrong where their way of getting things done is just through bullying. It’s their way or the highway and it’s driven through fear.
You see it a lot, for example with managing workers comp claims. It may work short term but long term it doesn’t work. They’re really not in touch with the personal side of employees.
- What tricks do you have to manage your priorities and your time?
Working 24/7, every waking hour! No, what I will do in the morning is write down all the tasks that I need to do that day and I’ll prioritise which ones need to get done that day. I also try to outsource as much as I can, such as admin tasks or bookkeeping, things that aren’t my primary business.
- What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
How fast technology is changing. Particularly with leaders being of the older generation, not being in touch with technology, but they need to get on the bandwagon and running with it. It’s changing so quickly. Particularly the younger generation – they want to know information quickly, at the tips of their fingers. And they’re all onboard with social media so if the leaders aren’t on board it’s just not going to work.
- How do you define the difference between a Manager and a Leader?
I saw this defined really well once where somebody drew a big circle and said that’s what a leader is. And then a tiny circle inside that saying a manager is just a small part of being a leader.
Anyone can manage, but only particular people can lead in terms of getting your troops onboard and really admiring and wanting to follow what your goal is.
- What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
Ann Barlett, from Lifestyle Cleaning Solutions. She has a really great team; she has really good focus on where her business wants to go and she’s driven to achieve that. At the same time she knows her business and she knows her staff really well.