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May 03, 2019
What being a leader means to me
By: Jonathan Restarick

If people are our greatest asset, how do we help them flourish? Jonathan Restarick explains how his leadership philosophy is based on seeing people as Truly Human*.


Accenture is not merely a legal entity or economic vehicle. We are a group of committed human beings who want our work to matter.

Stewardship has been a cornerstone value since 1995. We all want to leave the place in a better state than when we joined it. There’s a creative excitement of being able to truly help our clients, but even more to creating an environment for our people to grow into.

When I talk to friends who work for competitors, they tell me they have really interesting discussions with clients, but then become frustrated because their organisation doesn’t have the capability they need to solve the problems.

At Accenture, there’s almost no problem that we can’t solve. We have the capability and network to construct, and then deliver, compelling and comprehensive solutions for our clients.

And I know the reason we can do that is because we’ve got such a wonderful breadth of global and local capabilities – with strategy, consulting, digital, technology, security and operations. Capabilities is merely a complex word to describe great people.

In this environment, I believe leadership starts by honouring the fact that we are all Truly Human. Recognising that everyone is completely individual, with their own context, understanding, ideas, skills and ways of working.

So, my leadership style is that I try not to tell people how to achieve the outcome, because we are all skilled and talented in our own way. I tell my team what the outcome we need, what the resources and constraints are, and then I let them work out how to get the job done.

Empowering the individual (or team) to manage their own situation is more powerful and successful than trying to regulate, police or programmatise people.

Because what works for you might be completely different to what works for me. And what worked in the past may not be applicable for the future.

If I try and solve the work/life balance via a program or a policy, then it might be solved for some but be worse for others. Instead, what’s important is that we share, encourage and give people the tools so they can curate their own balance.

People need to feel they are trusted and empowered to balance whatever’s necessary to make sure they can sustainably achieve their goals and outcomes.

In my experience, if you can create that environment, then you see people flourishing, progressing and accelerating their careers and doing new things, in a sustainable way.

At Accenture that’s the real measure of successful leadership.

*Truly Human means to take care of our total selves – body, mind, heart and soul – so we can be our best, professionally and personally. A stronger connection with our whole selves means stronger connections with each other, creating a greater sense of belonging.

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