Q&A with Toby Newstead
June 11, 2019 by Sara Redman
SRA would like to introduce you to one of our affiliates; Toby Newstead. Toby is a Lecturer in Management at the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics. For many years Toby worked alongside us here at SRA both behind the scenes and coaching.
We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about Toby!
Tell us about what you do?
I study and teach leadership. For many years, I worked alongside the team at SRA; behind the scenes on content development and directly with clients via coaching, facilitation, and workshop delivery. Then in 2015, I went back to Uni to do my PhD.
My previous study in professional communications had been (and continues to be!), beneficial – but I wanted to learn more about how to develop good leaders…leaders who do the right things, in the right ways, for the right reasons. Leaders who are effective and ethical.
Through my PhD study, I evaluated a virtues-based approach to leadership development. You see, virtues (think: courage, humility, integrity, care, loyalty, kindness, etc) are the content of our character…by developing virtues, we develop character…and by developing character we develop the potential for individuals to engage in good leadership practices.
I’m now full time at UTas, teaching and researching. When I get the chance, I get amongst what SRA is doing – delivering the odd workshop and catching up whenever possible.
What excites you about the industry you work in?
Leadership affects all of us, every day. What excites me about studying and teaching leadership is the idea that I can help develop individuals to practice good leadership…if I can help people see the best in themselves (their own virtues) and the best in others (others’ virtues), and equip them with strategies to incorporate virtues into their daily practices of providing feedback, setting expectations, learning from mistakes, listening, and fostering wellbeing – well, I find that pretty darn exciting!
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
Complexity. I think complexity is the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity. Change is ever faster and less predictable, networks are more dispersed, and the richness of diversity is untapped. Within such complexity, I think it is key to stay true to your character: the virtues that make you you, and the real reasons why you’re doing what you’re doing. A clear sense of self and purpose provide firm anchors, and allow you to more nimbly adapt to meet the unexpectedness of the complex times in which we live.
What are the qualities in a leader that inspire you?
Different leader qualities will inspire different individuals. So much depends on the leader – counterpart relationship, and the broader context within which the relationship occurs. That said, some of the qualities that I find most inspiring in a leader are:
Prudence – knowing the right thing to do, in the right way, for the right reasons – always considering the long term & greater good.
Honesty – openness and truthfulness in word and action.
Curiosity – wondering, watching, questioning; constantly.
Humility – remembering your smallness in this great universe; and yet your infinite capacity.
Enthusiasm – tireless drive to make change and do good.
What would you consider to be your professional highlight during the past year?
In early March I attended a leadership development conference in LA. It was a whirlwind trip, and for the vast majority of it I experience serious imposter syndrome (it’s a thing!). But it was amazing to hear from and rub shoulders with the leading thinkers in the field of leadership development.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
That every person would realize their own worth and potential. That every person would know love and hope.
What is your favourite place in the world?
There are many, many places I love.
I grew up on a tiny island along the coast of British Columbia, Canada. In front of my childhood house there’s this one bluff…it’s carpeted in moss and ringed with stunted arbutus and fir trees. It’s rocky and rugged and looks west over the ocean. It epitomises home to me and is my favourite place in the world.
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