Mike Baird, Former Premier of New South Wales and Current CEO of HammondCare

We look back on our incredible interview with Mike Baird, former Premier of New South Wales and current CEO of HammondCare as he discussed his journey and the importance of connecting as a leader with Rowan Hamman. In episode three of the Work, It’s Personal podcast, Mike emphasizes the significance of bringing people together for a common purpose. Inspired by his parents' dedication to helping others, Baird's career path led him to Hammondcare. Read more on Mike’s insights on leadership and check out the full episode here.

Mike, what does leadership mean to you?

To me, leadership is the capacity to bring people together to do something that they couldn’t achieve themselves. I really think the best leaders are the ones that create a shared sense of vision. And every single person on that team has a role to play to that vision. And as a collective, you’re stronger than the one.

Who inspires you in that space as a leader? Who has stood out to you as a great leader?

It’s interesting because I’ve had the chance to meet some amazing leaders. My first leader was incredibly influential. He was someone that took me under his wing. He was firm, but fair…funnily enough, he was one of the best leaders that I ever had.

Probably out of all of the leaders I met, the one that stands out was Joe Biden. He was the Vice President and was out here (in New South Wales) for a day. We spoke about life and pains, and he shared those really openly. What was so striking about it to me was, here is one of the most powerful people in the world that took time to get to know me. He was totally and utterly present. So that sense of humility was very clear. He didn’t feel he was any more important than I was…I think that sort of leadership is the most powerful.

“Be present. This creates leaders that are authentic and engaged. You will have an engaged leadership team, the more present you are with them.”

— Mike Baird

peaking on your people, you have a lot of staff you lead across Australia in workplaces around the country.

How are these facilities for your people shaping up for you in the future? And where do you see the future of those facilities playing for HammondCare?

It’s certainly a widespread workforce…we have 75 different offices. We used to come into the head office every day. Obviously Covid has changed that dynamic.  We now work from home. We’re wrestling the future of that. Undoubtedly, we want to keep the flexibility. People enjoy it. When I talk to our leaders, the more you are doing things you’re passionate about and spending time with people you’re passionate about, you’re going to be a much better leader and employee.

So there’s more chance to do that in a work from home environment. I wouldn’t want to lose that, but I also want to ensure that we remain connected and that the relationships and the culture that comes, I think can be lost and certainly diluted through a complete work from home environment.

We are working on how we do both, how do we all come together, but at the same time keep that flexibility in terms of a broader balance of people not having to commute for long parts of each day, which is obviously attractive to anyone. I think facilities, like head offices will be reduced in the future, but I think there’ll always be a role for them. You are always going to keep that space in places where you come together as an organisation, it’s face to face and that’s where relationships are built.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve got

I’ve spoken a little bit about the presence in talking to leaders and employees. I’ve worked under leaders; I’ve seen leaders where they are already onto their next thing or they’re mulling their current problem or situation whilst they’re standing right before you. Having the capacity to park that and to be present, I think creates leaders that are authentic and engaged. You will have an engaged leadership team, the more present you are with them.

I also think that when you get into a leadership position, holding it as very lightly doesn’t define you. I’ve got an incredible privilege as a CEO of this organisation. It does not make me any more important than any role in the organisation. I’m in awe of our care workers in the cottages, what they do every day. I love our maintenance team and their passion for their job and their passion for the maintenance they’re doing for the residents they’re caring for. It’s important that as leaders you recognise you are no different to the person that’s alongside you in any part of the organisation – that’s really an important point.

And the last point…you’ve got to do what you’re passionate about. Your capacity to influence and impact on liberal outcomes is greater, if you’re passionate about it…find something that makes you rip the duna back and leap out.

At Athena Blue Global, we help leaders shape best places to work for their people. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you define your future way of working or make sense of your workplace needs, please get in touch with us here.


Let’s discuss your next project