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Joe Hart in discussion with The HR Leader about perspective and the importance of strong leadership

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
Joe Hart in discussion with The HR Leader about perspective and the importance of strong leadership

The HR Leader spoke with Joe Hart, the principal psychologist and director at True Perspective. He shared his expertise on the power of perspective and why a healthy work culture begins at the top.

Shandel McAuliffe, editor at HR Leader: “Could you tell us a little bit about perspective seeking and why you think it's a good idea?”

Mr Hart: “I think perspective is literally one of the most powerful things in the world. To be able to take a different perspective to the one that you're currently taking, or to actually step inside somebody else's shoes, from a leadership and an HR standpoint, that's really powerful. What we're really talking about is empathy, and really understanding and empathising with what somebody else is experiencing is so critical. So, that's why I think perspective-taking is so important as it is a reflection of empathy.”

Editor: “Are there any examples that you could give us where this has been useful for you in the past?”


Mr Hart: “I could probably give you an example of where that's probably not gone so well and some challenging experiences, or what it feels like to not have somebody see things from your perspective.”

“One example would be a senior leader that I worked for. I'd literally just got put into a senior position. It was in a corporate context, and I hadn't really been a manager before. I'd managed teams and project teams, but never really managed a direct team, and so, I wasn't really ready. So, this senior leader, I wasn't on her good list and it went south.”

He added: “She couldn't see that I was struggling... She just put that down as I wasn't capable and I wasn't delivering, and I guess her inability to see things from my perspective was really toxic.”

Editor: “Why is the leadership team an important place to start when trying to influence culture?”

Mr Hart: “The simple answer is that leadership is culture in my opinion. How people behave and the relationships that they form, especially in the leadership team and in the senior leadership roles form the behaviours that then follow.

“Everyone's looking at the leadership team and the behaviours that are demonstrated by leadership. It's how they know how to be and how to belong and what to do, and I just think if leaders aren't doing it, then it's not going to happen.

“In terms of good behaviour and good culture, if they're [leaders] not doing it, then no one else is going to do it.”

Mr Hart added: “One of the other points that I think is worth considering is if you don't focus on culture and behaviour from a leadership standpoint, it's going to happen anyway. You are creating the culture, whether you like it or not. It's happening around you. I think culture is a reflection of leaders, and the leadership that people demonstrate, full stop.”

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full conversation with Joe Hart is below.





Your organization's culture determines its personality and character. The combination of your formal and informal procedures, attitudes, and beliefs results in the experience that both your workers and consumers have. Company culture is fundamentally the way things are done at work.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.