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Leading on the Edge: Extraordinary Stories and Leadership Insights from The World's Most Extreme Workplace by Rachael Robertson

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Chapter 5      image

Don't expect leadership to be an easy ride

First, my office. Where oh where in this vast geographic area would I base myself? I needed to be in the district, which stretched 400 kilometres from Torquay to Portland. But I also needed to make sure I could get to head office easily for face-to-face meetings with key decision makers. Around this time, the transition to email as a primary form of communication was in full swing. I was a late adopter of email and hadn't spent much time thinking about how best to use it. It was considered the answer to reducing travel time and expense. You can accomplish more at your desk than you can in the car, was the mantra of the day. I had a problem with this. You see, I already knew from a couple of experiences that email has no ‘tone’ button. Messages are often terse and can come across in completely the wrong way. I had seen email conversations escalate into full-scale warfare. Experience had also taught me that face-to-face communication that engaged physical expression, tone and body language was a much better medium for important conversations. Writing this now, 10 years later, it seems like I'm stating the obvious, but to us then it ran against the current and certainly raised a few eyebrows. So I decided to move the District Chief Ranger's office from Warrnambool (about 300 kilometres from head office in Melbourne) to Lorne, ...

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