The Audience Q&A from M2woman Journey to Excellence! JTE Podcast – Episode 3


Listen To The Podcast Here



On that note everyone I’d like to hear from you just finally before we ask for some take homes and then take some questions from the floor. How can we fix this? We’ve been talking about it. This is my fourth or fifth panel that we’ve done at M2 Women. The numbers are not improving, they’re not improving at all. We’re still talking about it. How can we fix this?

Kate:  I think it’s genuinely a top down bottom up.  I think organisations have to focus on the pipeline coming in, they have to be very overt around Māori, Pasifika, and gender, and making sure that there’s a really good balance coming in.  We are doing a lot now, I mean, we know…, and it happens, right? Females have kids and they decide they don’t want to come back to work because they actually want to stay at home, and that’s fine, that’s great.  So, if you know you’re going to have a cliff between 32 and 36 of women leaving, you’ve actually got to overcompensate for that somewhere before they get to that age so that you don’t have this massive drop-off of people.  So, I think organisations have to be overt, they absolutely have to look at pay parity because we know that that is when a person’s career accelerates the most, is between 30 and 40 in terms of your seniority and how quickly you move up an organisation.  It’s when your pay accelerates the most and it’s when females are off on maternity leave, so I think organisations have to address that as a part of the problem to bringing females back, and I think there has to be some sort of top down drive around quotas and making it happen, because I don’t think genuinely until you get really strong board, senior management, middle management populations that have a lot more diversity, I don’t think you’ll really create the culture where diversity is celebrated.  I don’t know what it feels like to be a Māori or Pasifika who has grown up in a low socio-economic environment and have to come in and survive in a corporate. My parents were corporates so that’s what I know and that’s why I’ve been successful. I don’t know what it feels like to be them, I don’t know what it feels like to be gay, I don’t know what it feels like be in the communities that we need to fix this, so I think it won’t be until we get really good representation from those groups and people who actually know how it feels and actually have empathy from a personal level, we won’t change it.

Tui:  I think like for organisations, corporates, New Zealand, focus on actually what the benefits of that is, what is the value of us having more diversity, and being really clear about that, that it’s not something to be hit over the head of with ‘you’re not doing this’, it’s actually ‘I feel it inside myself.  This is the right thing to do, it’s going to make my business better, it’s going to make the nation better’, so I think that’s a place to start. That’s the external. Then I think internal, more women putting their hands, more Māori and Pasifika people of minorities putting our hands up and saying, actually, I want to do this, I’m up for it, and then as part of that, calling on support, and then the rest of us supporting.  Then also check your bias. I recently did unconscious bias training and I was like, you know, I’m a Māori woman, I’ve got his sorted, I know what that’s all about.

Actually I’m a bias machine! And people in the room, you know, oh they spelt that word wrong, no care for detail, they’re out the door. That wasn’t me, that was some other people, and it’s actually, okay, they spelt a word wrong but actually maybe everything else is okay.  So, actually being aware of your own bias and how you might have that, yeah, not…, you know, actually enable more people to come on through.

Was it useful the unconscious bias training?

Tui:  Yeah, yeah.  They talked about merit, how merit is a way that actually we exclude people, and also team fit, you know, ‘Oh will they fit with the team.  I’ve got this team that looks like this and I’m just not sure if they’re going to fit in’, and actually that’s a big way that we exclude a whole lot of people.  Also, one of the things that it’s taken me a long time, is that sometimes, really quickly, you know it would be great if we learnt all our lessons with unicorns bouncing on rainbows that came and said, here’s life’s lesson.  That often doesn’t happen like that; it’s actually pointy elbows, big Mac trucks in your face, and so actually that kind of tension sometimes, not too much of it, but that actually is what creates things and actually not to be afraid of that.  You know, you need to manage it and not have it get out of control, but actually a little bit of difference, little bit of pointy elbows is actually all right.

Vanessa:  Yeah, I think challenge with respect.  I think that’s got to be something, and I think we’ve all got to take a look.  I think anybody here that’s a leader, that’s bringing on people, we just absolutely have to be the change.   Hats off to the banking industry, you know, three incredible women leading these large banks in New Zealand, we’ve got to see more of that.  The NZX, yeah, one, like there is a movement and you’re right, maybe it’s like one of those things that, you know, it’s taken 10 years and having the continued conversation, I certainly feel way more valued and supported than I did 20 years ago, and looking at the young women entering our business, hearing them saying they really do feel included.  We’ve got an incredible LGBTI community where an amazing guy called Stephen, I took him to Baradene College where my daughter goes. We were asked to do a careers day conversation and we’re there in the chapel and he opens and goes, ‘Hi I’m an openly gay man’, and he said, ‘Oh god, are they going to strike me down!’ and his speech was all about feeling empowered to come to work being his authentic self and that he felt supported.  

Vanessa:  I was just going wow, this is what it’s got to be about.  So, my advice is be the change in this room. Go and ask and absolutely challenge with respect.

Find an incredible leader like Vanessa, the fact that you’ve got employees that are that comfortable in their skin is a real testimony to how you’re doing it.

Vanessa:  It takes everyone.

Rob:  Look, I probably sound a bit pessimistic in a lot of what I’ve said, but I do believe our society is changing for the better and that we are making enormous progress in respect to many of these issues, we’re just not making it in the area where I work primarily, which is a bit of a disappointment.  The thing I believe is that it’s like any other addiction, if you’re addicted to gender and equality, it’s probably because you think you benefit from it, and to break people from it you need to stage intervention, so you need people to be pretty firm about the harm it’s doing to the individuals in your business or in your community, you need to be firm about the harm that it’s doing to the people at the top too.  I think the biggest thing we can all do here is recognise that we’re all imposters. I’m an imposter, half the time I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m making it up as I go along. That’s true of your chief executive as well. That really sexist person who’s insisting that you must have someone who looks like this or that to come on to the board or in that position, is as insecure as you feel about your job as well.  They may project security but it’s almost certainly in my experience, not true, and so what we’ve got to do is be open about the fact that we’re all imposters, we’re all trying to make it up, we’re all trying to do the best we can, and sometimes you just have to intervene to make it change.

We’re all human.  Yeah. Is there anything left that anybody would like to say before we open up the questions from the floor?  Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’re burning to tell us? It may come out in the next [1:43:17] anyway.

Kate:  Well, I would say I agree with Rob.  I feel very positive about the generation coming through.  They’re very socially aware, socially conscious, they really passionately believe in diversity, it’s just a way of life for them, right?  They don’t actually see it as a problem. So, I do think that we’ve as a, you know, we’ve got an amazing generation of people coming through, it’s just they’re 20 years away.  

Fantastic, thank you guys.  Have a sip of water while we get some microphones around the room.  Now is your time to ask any questions that you would like to of these wonderful panellists.  So, if you’ve got a question, pop your hand up and … here we go, a lady over here Jennifer. Someone will bring you a microphone so we can all hear you.  Can you see her there, Jen?

Q:  Hi, really interesting discussion.  I work for a reasonably large company, not a corporate, female CEO, all male board, all male senior leadership team.  It’s very clear that she is very happy being the only rose among those thorns. What do we do about women who sabotage women?

Great question.

Kate:  Be honest and tell them, be honest and tell them.

Rob:  You know, it’s not uncommon.  I’ve observed that. In fact, just this week I’ve got on my plate a situation where someone who the board and senior management team thought should be appointed to a role, we arranged for this woman to meet with a couple of our senior executives, and she spent the hour talking to the men and ignored the woman.  And the women, I’m very pleased, complained about it and said she didn’t think she would make a very good member of the team and told us why. I think that was really good. So, look it does happen, but I think it’s part of that…, and I’ve seen it in many instances currently and past in my working life, I think it is part of that insecurity and imposter syndrome, and the only answer I can really see for it is for us to develop the ability for that radical candor, that ability for people to speak up without it seeming like a personal attack, without us needing to feel that we have to be defensive about it, but look at the issue in a more…, and this is a contradiction in terms, I was going to say a more dispassionate and caring way, and those two are opposite, aren’t they, so I’ll opt for caring, in a more caring way and more thoughtful way.  But look, your observation is right and the only answer I can see, it’s just another version of the insecurity issue to me.

Kate:  And I would talk to her.  I have worked for someone similar and I just said to her, you need to be a role model for diversity within the organisation, and we need to work on a plan and a programme and think about how we want this to turn out for our people and work them through what that looks like for the organisation and then get to the glaringly obvious gap.  So, I would sit with her and try and get the buy-in around what we want to do from an organisation and how we’re going to see that move and what we want to do to develop females in the organisation and then get to the, ‘Well they’re looking up and this is what they see’.

Tui:  I’d like to say, it’s hard to know what’s going on in her world.  I think one of the things I realised, I work with a lot of younger female entrepreneurs and they’re amazing, they’re so amazing and they’re so accomplished at such a young age, you know, doing these things, and I had to check myself because I actually found I was in a situation with a number of them where they’re like ‘and now I want to do this and I want to do that’, and I’m thinking in the back of my mind sort of unconsciously, oh, that took me a really long time to get this, you know, I’m thinking maybe you’ve got to earn your stripes.  And I went hang on, Tui, actually you’re doing that thing holding back these… you know, and because I had this assumption that actually they had to earn their stripes, they had to go through the same hardships that I did. Actually, those next generations coming through, maybe they’re leapfrogging me and actually that’s great, but it’s amazing how even when you feel that you are really dedicated to the course, you do still have to check yourself.

Fantastic answer.  Next question. Just down the back there please.

Q:  Thank you.  Hi, how do you get Māori and Pasifika people to put their hands up for more leadership roles?

All well qualified to answer this.  Kate, Vanessa, Tui, go!

Tui:  So, in my world, you know, with start-ups, there were just hardly any Māori and Pasifika businesses coming through and actually what I decided is that actually we have to plant seeds, so it is about developing programmes and planting seeds that might start small, that is about building that pipeline.  I think also, you know, one of the things that I’ve really come to embrace, and it’s best book ever, is Wayfinding Leadership, and it’s actually a very New Zealand indigenous leadership model that’s based on the fact that a lot of our ancestors found their way here on boats that weren’t very sea-worthy, travelling huge distances using their understanding of celestial navigation, ocean currents, and so in a lot of the workshops that I lead I talk about those frameworks, drawing on our heritage and actually the future is so chaotic and so dynamic that’s coming towards us, we need to be drawing on all of these different frameworks for New Zealand to survive and that includes western frameworks which are about precision and measurement.  So actually what I found is locating, you know, actually, I don’t know, like putting it into the talent that leadership is actually in our DNA.

Resilience, yeah.  

Vanessa:  Yeah and look for us it’s early days and I think it is looking outwards in terms of where that talent is coming from, but one of the things that we’ve done is actually team up with other enterprises.  Air New Zealand is a great example. We’re going out to communities that otherwise we wouldn’t touch, and we’re actually just out there like roadshows. We’re doing a hui down at the Viaduct of getting a lot of these school children in to go, you know, you could work here, and actually part of it we’ve got to inspire and open our doors, because it’s not the most inclusive environment.  Our partnership with [1:51:00] and Ngati Whatua we’re increasing more and more and more interns to come in, and also I think next Saturday I’m presenting out at Manukau just going look, you could have a job in this type of organisation. So, it is one step at a time, something that we’re very, very passionate about, and yeah, I think linking up with other similar organisations, so your efforts are joined up rather than everybody potentially doing a smaller similar thing.

Kate:  When I was at Fletcher Building we put a leadership programme called [1:51:35 Whaka Tipu] in place, and what we did, it was specific for our Māori future leaders, and the whole programme was really built around how we gave them the tools to be comfortable putting their hand up and so it was about their leadership, their personal why, connecting to what was important to them, and then understanding how to navigate corporates.  Then what we did is we partnered them with a Māori leader in the organisation and we built career plans with them, and then we got their manager involved and then we managed it from a very planned way. Then, when we had roles that came up, they were uncontested, that person was directly appointed and then we put really strong support and mentoring around them to make sure that they were successful, and that worked really well.  They had 50 percent promotion rate off that programme with 18 months.

Rob:  yeah, I think these programmes are very important and they are a genuine responsibility for businesses.  There’s a lot happening in communities in this respect, getting themselves organised and getting together.  There’s a group who are self-organised from within the Māori community in the north, who are doing a lot of work in bringing people together and introducing them to businesses and preparing them for entry to these sorts of products.  There’s a very interesting young guy who is from Tokoroa, who has got a thing called Tumeke Enterprise where he goes around schools and he’s organised one quite big hui in Auckland. His next hui is in Tokorua which he’s organising at the moment, which is to get young people along to meet with and spend time with people from business, often quite senior business people, and I have great hope in those self-generated community organisations and our need is to link up with them and to sort of blow a bit of warm air on the embers that they’re creating and bring it through.

Kate:  Michael Moka who runs a company called Indigenous Growth, we partnered with him and he also helped build out ASB’s whakateria, so he’s quite experienced.  He built the programme, so Michael Moka, he would be well worth talking to, to help you build something out like that.

I think there was a question over here before.  Here we go, at the front of the room please for the microphone.  Thank you.

Q:  Hi my name is Lana, and I came to New Zealand four years ago.  You can tell by my accent I am an immigrant. So, we’re talking about all those minorities, women, Māori, LGBTI, but there’s one more, immigrants, and I haven’t heard one story telling that they came to New Zealand and they were welcomed to the workforce.  I think it’s more than a quarter of professional workforce in New Zealand are considered immigrate and what I found is that it’s very hard to find a job you deserve if you don’t have local experience. I have a lot of friends, I’m from Russia, have a lot of friends who came here to New Zealand from my country and haven’t heard one story saying that it’s not an issue, local experience.  And it’s not about language really, it’s about people not trusting overseas experience, not trusting you because you haven’t proved yourself yet, and if you want to get a leadership role that’ll be even more difficult, it’s probably impossible if you didn’t start from the beginning here. So, don’t you think it’s a bias and is there anything that can be done? Thank you.

Kate:  That’s an absolute bias.  I speak quite a bit at HR events, and I talk on this topic frequently, having had friend who have gone through it as well.  It is one of the worst things that we put in place—you don’t have New Zealand experience. But you might happen to have come from India and work for a company of millions and millions of people and had experience 10 times what anything in New Zealand has ever….  It’s terrible and it’s something everyone in here as a hiring manager can address. Give someone a chance. And we have some amazing people coming into this country. I mean, my sister-in-law ran Accenture Mergers and Acquisition Legal Team globally and she can’t get a contract general counsel job because she doesn’t have New Zealand experience.  So, she is one of the top global M&A lawyers and no one wants to talk to her, and she’s saying, well, can I work for free? No. So, how do you get New Zealand experience if no one wants to give you a chance? I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a real issue. We bring people into this country because of their skills and education and then we don’t give them a chance, and all I’d say is that we all have a role to play in that in trying to address that but thank you for raising it.

Vanessa:  yeah, look I agree as well.  I mean, we’re pretty lucky at Microsoft because people globally, especially South African, want to come to New Zealand and find that mechanism the way because they’ve already been part of the organisation, so we’re really fortunate we have in fact have a huge representation of different people.  But it’s events like this, it’s speaking up, it is the good old-fashioned networking, because we are a culture that loves recommending people, so I would say don’t give up, keep having a voice, reach out to leaders, and one thing kiwis are pretty good at, they generally say yes. The amount of people that reach out, please don’t do that now, but reach out and say can I meet with you, actually a lot of times you will be get the yes.  Be a little bit specific around what you’re wanting to do and hook onto someone that can help you.

We’ve probably got time for two more questions.  Mr David Boyle has got his hand waving in the air.  Can we get a microphone to Dave please, as seen on the AM show?

Q:   Thanks Carly.  A question to the panel, and I really love the conversation around diversity, particularly at a board level, I wonder could we extend that diversity around skillset as well?  I’m thinking more about capability, around not just being really good at numbers and profitability, but also thinking about the consumer or customer that you’re facing and what you think boards could and should be doing around their customer whoever they are, and how we might be able to encourage that, because I think we’re definitely lacking given some of the environmental elements that have occurred over the last 12 months, particular in financial services.  I’d love your thoughts.

Kate:  Yeah, well I mean I guess I can answer that being a company owned by NAB, National Australia Bank.  So, for those of you who don’t know, we’ve had a fairly tumultuous couple of weeks with our Chair and CEO stepping down in the face of issues arising from the Royal Commission into banking conducted by Commissioner Hayne, primarily around customer outcomes.  So, I think absolutely. I think diversity also is about representing your customer. I look in New Zealand at the diversity in terms of population and making sure boards understand what those demographics want, but I think consumers are getting (and as they should be) far more vocal around their needs and around their rights, and what they expect from their service provider.  So, it’s something we are absolutely thinking about. NAB announced a customer advisory board. We’re certainly looking at that here because I think if you provide services to customers and you don’t have them at the heart of everything you do, then the likelihood is you’ll fail them at some point, so I think the onus is on all organisations but primarily ours at the moment for the point you make around how we service our customers.

Rob:  I agree with what you say.  I mean, the Hayne report for those of you who are interested in it, is well worth reading, particularly the chapter on governance, and in effect what Hayne and the earlier [Apara 2:01:46] report on similar issues was saying, was boards need to shift their attention from ‘can I do this?’ to ‘should I do this?’ and I think it’s a very important kind of way to think about it.  One of the things that I’ve been reflecting on, and you can challenge me if you see me again in about 12 months, is that I think in our search for board members we need to assume that you’re going to have people who are basically literate and numerate but place much greater emphasis on the values that the people hold and express in the way they work and conduct themselves.  I think it’s becoming a far more important issue for us than some of the purely technical skills which are probably present in abundance in the business anyway. So, leadership is very strongly about values and I think we need to focus a lot more on that.

Fantastic.  Thank you. Two more I think.  We had somebody else this way.

Q:  Hey, I feel like we’ve heard a lot today about the sort of more general things that you can put in place to encourage various people to rise to the top, but in my experience, which I hope is unique but I suspect not, that most of the times people fail to get to the top because of one specific instance or multiple instances in the workplace of either bullying or harassment, and this is not just women or people of various ethnicities, I’ve even heard recently of a man who tried to change which time he could get home from his shift because he was being attacked at his bus stop, and no one paid attention.  I am yet to hear of any workplace that has solved the issue of, I don’t know, reporting or no blame ability to report these incidents and have something happen as a result that doesn’t impact the person it happened to, I suppose. Do you know of any ideas?

Kate:  I’m happy to take that without my HR hat on.  Look, I think the importance of independent whistle-blower channels is critical and having the availability of a service for people (a) to raise their issue (b) to raise it confidentially, and to have someone external from the organisation investigate it, are critical to getting an impartial outcome.  So, I think those three things are very important. I’ve absolutely seen some terrible outcomes for people who have made complaints and I’ve seen some terrible outcomes for people who have been complained against, and I’ve also seen good outcomes. Where I’ve seen the good outcomes, the process I’ve seen used is almost like the process they use in the justice arena, where you get a co-facilitated session where people can air their grievances in a really open way, and both parties get the opportunity to understand how the other one is feeling and to try and work it through.  Clearly for that to happen you have to have two people who want to do that, and that’s not always the case, and you have to have a situation where people feel safe, and that’s not always the case, but it is very, very difficult when one person makes a complaint against another person, you know, to try and find, especially when it’s a very serious complaint, it’s a very difficult situation to get to a really harmonious outcome for everyone involved, but I have seen it. And it think organisation, you know, certainly when we have serious complaints of bullying and harassment, more likely than not we will take steps to protect the person who is making the complaint, and we take it very seriously, and I think most organisations do.  But it’s very difficult, because you also have to protect the person who is being complained against, right? As an employer you also have a duty to make sure there’s a fair process so it’s hard.

I think we had somebody else down the back corner, is that right?  There we go.

Q:  Hi, good afternoon.  My name is Lynn. I have to say I had a bit of reticence to ask a question because I’m obviously not from New Zealand, I’m from Ireland and kind of as a bit of an out-looker looking in, but I thought I do employ five kiwis so I thought that would give me some kind of basis to ask.  I think from my perspective, coming to New Zealand, the tall poppy syndrome was not something that I had really encountered growing up, and as I work and employ people here, particularly among women, I encounter those words, not so much the actuality of them really believe that, but I hear that an awful lot.  So, that’s one observation I’d be interested in hearing your view on, but the second one as well is that in Ireland there’s been quite an increase in women in leadership in the last five years, particularly in the banking sector, but I think that one of the things that has been changed from a patriarchal model in Ireland is actually how people are employed as women, in terms of being able to have families and collect their children, raise children, and for that to be really admired as an accomplishment in and of itself, as part of the workplace.  And observationally here, it’s not something that I hear admired very often, and I think that that in and of itself is a true form of leadership and those ladies are not sitting on boards, but they are creating the future of this country and the future of this nation, and I just think that I can’t help but feel that there is a parallel between the kind of tall poppy sense and this kind of sense of reticence of saying, hey, I’m contributing to this society.  I know there’s a couple of different issues in that question but just really, yeah, I really was interested in hearing any views on those.

We use tall poppy as an excuse, don’t we?  We go, ‘Oh yeah, that’s tall poppy syndrome’.  It’s not okay.

Vanessa:   Yeah, I think for me there is a little bit of that element of…, from a kiwi perspective we know we need the large Telcos and we know we need the large banks, but we feel a little bit aggrieved at how well they’re doing.  I’m not really sure why that is. I also hear it quite often, I think Mike King was just made…, you know, got an aware and he’s, you know, going to shut down this tall poppy, and I don’t think it really is incorporated in the full DNA.  I truly think we should all be proud of the New Zealand economy in terms of how well our companies our going, innovation and what’s going on, and also back on bringing people in from other countries, a really quite short story. We’ve just employed the most incredible lady, I’d love to tell you exactly which country she’s from, but she doesn’t have a kiwi accent, and she was six months pregnant.  I just thought, wow, that is mind blowing. In fact, this woman is so incredible she had the baby at two o’clock in the morning and drove from the hospital into Microsoft to get her laptop with the baby on the way home. But, you know, this to me is actually, we do have to employ for the skillset, and we do need to encourage that, and I think we’ve got to celebrate those types of stories.

Tui:  Our leadership team went away for an away day recently and the facilitator said to us, so how do you feel turning up to the leadership meetings, and we said, well, it’s not dreadful.  And that sort of became the thing—it’s ‘oh it’s not dreadful’ in working with entrepreneurs. And there’s this story about pitching for investment overseas and an American person might say, so how’s the business going?  Well it’s not bad. So, there is something in our language or in our psyche of kiwi-ness that we have. I think also working with entrepreneurs and innovators, they are naturally or need to be boastful, so I’ve grown up around a lot of those that have to really sell themselves in order to survive to the next place.  But then moving into the cultural and heritage sector, it’s the complete reverse and it’s all about actually, I’m not the expert. So, tall poppy is as much about how we treat others that put their hand up to lead or to stand out and also what we are also generating within ourselves.

And we’ve touched on flexibility and how wonderful that is, and how that’s one of the main barriers for women in promotions in leadership roles.  Do we have one last burning question? Fantastic.

Q:  Can I just say that when you talk flexibility, I’ve got a buddy of mine who just got made redundant, which I think is really sad.  Can you hear me? He just got made redundant from his job while he was performing really well. It’s a tech company, I think installation of surveillance products, he was the one that got the redundancy notice on Waitangi Day because he was…, and it was sighted by his boss that the reason that they chose him is because he took three hours out of his week to pick up the kids, and he was the one that was the fall guy, which I think is really sad in businesses today.  And the reason I bring it up is not just …

Kate:  You might want to tell him, legally they can’t do that (with the HR hat).  I’ll tell you after.

Q:  Yeah, so yeah, and as I say, there’s just not that flexibility in the working hour.  There’s a guy that’s trying to meet that and he ends up being the fall guy. I think is really sad.

Yeah, men are trying to be equal partners in home life in that situation and yeah.

Rob:  I think, Carli, the last couple of questions make an important point for us that we come, or I end up coming to a reasonable number of these events that are talking about diversity and leadership, and I think diversity and leadership is important because of what it an achieve, and it’s not a good thing necessarily in itself.  It’s not a bad thing in itself but it’s important because of what it can achieve to my mind. The health of a society is not determined by how well its leaders and its stars get on; the health of a society is determined by how most of the people’s working life and community life and family life goes, so important to remember I think when we’re talking about these diversity and leadership issues, that we need that diversity because it produces better outcomes for all of us, not because it makes people at the top feel better.

Q:  Sort of more of a point, Kate, I picked up when you were talking about the bullying response you used the term whistle-blower, and that’s a known term, and what my question or point is, is around the fact that we use language now that we don’t even realise we’re talking about biases or whatever, but if you’re a person who’s going to do right or going to help solve a situation like the guy getting beaten up at the bus stop or whatever it was, and you’re going to get labelled a whistle-blower, it’s quite a negative term.  So, my question is, do we need to actually start changing the language and terms we use to describe these things? So, instead of calling it a whistle-blower, a change maker, I don’t know, there’s probably something more appropriate, but we’re still stuck in that language and that mentality, that if you speak up you’re a whistle-blower. So, who is going to be that whistle-blower versus who might be a positive change-maker?

Kate:   Oh no, I agree.  I think the term whistle-blower is punitive and not constructive, so I would definitely agree with that.  I think of all the cases I’ve been involved in where people have stood up and spoken up, they’re enormously courageous and it’s a very difficult thing for them to do because they have a fear of repercussions and often the complaints are about their boss or a co-worker, and they make it knowing that their work environment is going to forever be different and difficult.  So, they’re normally very courageous and I have a huge amount of respect for people who do that, and I agree, I think whistle-blower is not a particularly positive term.

You’ll also like:

You’re seeing this M2woman article with compliments of our channel sponsor. If you enjoyed it why not try our entire library from only $1.99 a month - get instant access right now, every issue of M2woman since June 2017. Get local NZ made content on beauty, health, style, design, technology, entertainment and more right now! CLICK HERE for options.

Get MORE articles you care about, delivered FREE to your inbox - Join our M2woman Emailer: