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Gail Kelly on what it means to be a successful modern leader

Former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly. Photo: Getty Images.

Westpac’s former boss, Gail Kelly, has shown she has what it takes to be a successful leader.

However in today’s dynamic business world, the definition of that success is constantly shifting to keep up with the evolving landscape.

According to Kelly, who spoke to The Australian, the “old world of autocratic, top down leadership styles are gone”.

Now, a successful business leader is “more collaborative, intuitive, and generous spirited,” she says.

Above all, the former big bank CEO says, leadership should “generous spirited”.

“It should be about looking to catch people doing the right thing, one that is not selfish or quick to judge; it should be one that is prepared to walk in other people’s shoes, one that is prepared to listen.”

In addition to that she says a good leader ensures they are supported by the right team, whether that is achieved by recruitment or internal promotion.

“With the right people in the right role, you form a team of people where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” she told The Australian.

“You need to have the very best people and make sure they are playing to their strengths.”

Since leaving Westpac, Kelly has been appointed to the board of Woolworths Holdings as a non-executive director. She is also a global adviser to the UBS, an ambassador for Care Australia, and mentors a Canberra-based cyber security start-up called Quintessence Labs.

Kelly was the first female chief executive of a major Australian bank, working in the top job from 2007 to 2014.

Read more here.

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