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We need better leadership to get better outcomes, our conversation with Paul Gleeson

BWL Episode 38 with Paul Gleeson, Group Director, Sustainability and Managing Director Energy, Resources and Water – Australia and New Zealand

Always endeavouring to curate a diverse range of leaders to seek learning and insights from, we co-create conversations with leaders who have been striving to make the world better for decades, and leaders who have figuring out exactly what their first striving step will be. Paul Gleeson is firmly in the former camp, an experienced leader who made a critical turn in his career many years ago driven by an intrinsic initiative to orientate himself towards making a difference and creating a better world.

Paul works with government and industry leaders to help them navigate away from the way they operate today industrially, to a net zero model. He knows the challenges and opportunities for future industries and business models, assets and workforces having navigated the energy transition for governments and industry for more than a decade.

Paul has over 25 years’ experience working across all aspects of the energy sector including some of the most significant projects in the Australian energy market, including the TransGrid acquisition, Australia’s largest wind and solar farms and the Government of South Australia’s Clean Energy Transition. As part of advising both the public and private sector on the development of strategies, targets, policies and projects to combat the negative impacts of climate change he led a team to deliver Aurecon’s Hydrogen for Transport report that informed Australia’s National Hydrogen Roadmap.

In his roles at Aurecon as Group Director, Sustainability and Managing Director, Energy, Resources and Water he continues to evolve Aurecon’s sustainability and climate change expertise to address client challenges including the transition to net zero and manage Aurecon’s corporate sustainability transparency with Aurecon’s board.

Paul is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He holds a Certificate in Design Led Innovation from Stanford University. He is also a member of The University of Queensland’s Master of Sustainable Energy Advisory Board and continues to work closely in partnership with The University of Queensland to lead change for students and business.

In this conversation we explore Paul’s journey to take a leading role and inspire many others to combine technical, leadership and purposeful abilities to set in motion numerous programs and develop projects can positively impact our future better world. We discuss the role of purpose and passion in Paul’s work and leadership, his approach to leading teams through transformations and guiding transformative projects, as well as how to nurture potential and self-expression, and the changing landscape of the sectors Paul’s expertise is sought out by.

Key out-takes from this episode

Conversations are changing:

  • There are now a lot less conversations about should we, and a lot more about how we do the changes that need to occur
  • These conversations often get away from simple binary discussions and engage in more complex, nuanced dialogue

Leading people through transformations:

  • The first thing to do is get crystal clear about the why
  • Trying to take a group of people somewhere is as exciting as bringing in a new piece of Tech
  • You have to find the first followers
  • It’s not enough just to have the first followers, figure out the right investment in the core cohort
  • Doing a great job is not enough. You’ve got to be able to tell the story link to why
  • Trying to take a group of people somewhere is as exciting as bringing in a new piece of Tech

Leading with purpose:

  • Understanding, being open to and more overt in talking about purpose, meaning and passion
  • If I show people that it’s ok and not weird to get excited about being passionate can unlock more in everyone
  • The crucial thing with passion & purpose is that it is real
  • Be true to what matters to you & what you want to achieve & that applies at any age
  • There are rewards from the virtuous circle of receiving more meaning & purpose from working with meaning & purpose
  • When there’s a really good alignment of meaning & purpose with your role, those are the really great phases of your career with the greatest reward
  • Alignment of passion & purpose unlocks super-performance
  • We need better leadership to get better outcomes
  • There’s a sense of calmness that comes from making a difference

Wholeness and developing potential:

  • Give people permission to unleash all that they are
  • So many people I’ve led are smarter than me, but they hadn’t had permission to unleash & bring everything they can bring
  • There’s a difference between giving an opportunity & giving space to express themselves

Paul and I look forward to sharing this chapter of the Better World Leaders journey with you. We would really like to hear your thoughts and comments either via leaving a review, posting on any via any of the social links below or by getting in touch with us directly.

Follow Aurecon or reach out to Paul via social platforms and details below:

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Aurecon website – www.aurecongroup.comCheck out the Aurecon podcast – Engineering Reimagined,

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You can also join the Better World Leaders LinkedIn group, follow to connect with and interact more deeply across the BWL community –