Kate Dempsey

Kate Dempsey

Kate is an organisational consultant and has taught in MBA programs for more than 16 years. She has a PhD in leadership. Her website is at www.katedempsey.com.au

Location Melbourne


  • Hi Phil, it has taken me a while to get back to you on this comment. I am new to FutureLearn and have asked others to help me to understand where/how your time and visits are being monitored. My advice is that this does not occur in FL. I am happy for you to email me with further details. info@katedempsey.com.au

    I have worked with other LMS (Learning...

  • @DEBLANGFORD and Deb, the so-called "soft skills" are the hardest! :)

  • @DebBirks the way I see it, is power "just is" and how it is used could be negative or positive. So when there is an immediate danger, then use your strength to push someone out of the way of harm (but don't do that at any other time!). New leaders often feel uncomfortable with the power they have (power that resides in their role authority) and can be...

  • let me find out if this is possible.

  • I am new to this format too Erin and I thought it was strange to have the timed release of the content. Other courses I have taught online (Monash University and Latrobe University) did not do this. Oh well, at least it allows us all to stop, take a breath and go live before continuing on! :)

  • Good for you Sheila, yes, everyone, do share. I really helps with the learning.

  • I see many of you commented on the issue of power. I (personally) find it not often mentioned at work. We like to think everyone is equal. Yet it is there, all the time in our various interactions. While everyone should be respected, not everyone has the same level of power (personal or positional). Am I right?

  • thoughtful reflection, Darren.

  • One issue that has not been raised so far is the dreaded "gender issue". Is it possible that followers perceive women in positions of authority differently to how they perceive men? Do they have different expectations of women leaders and male leaders? I am thinking about an example.. a male leader who is collaborative and slow to make a decision because he is...

  • I like to say, listening does not necessarily mean agreeing! I can listen attentively, acknowledge the point being made, but I do not have to agree or act on the view expressed.

  • and I agree... self-reflection leading to self-awareness is so important.

  • Vanessa you said..."Sometimes past experience with an employee automatically makes you think in a certain way and then only see what we want to and expect to see".

    Yes, has everyone heard of the Ladder of Inference? It is a handy reminder that we all tend to do exactly as Vanessa has suggested sometimes.

    You can see a summary of the idea here...

  • An important point to reinforce, Shane that how people perceive you (whether they are actually right or wrong) is the reality for them and they will act accordingly.

  • Jamar, can anyone really remove feelings? Personally, I don't think it is possible. Perhaps it is better to say, recognise your feelings, be aware of how they may be influencing you and then try to manage them. What do you think about that way of looking at it?

  • Interesting comments Ingrid. (1) Transparency is important. (2) you can't be a friend and a leader - very hard to do successfully! (3) all team members are dealing with the same tension too (4) whether we like it or not, we are always wearing the "leader hat" to the team.

  • @DEBLANGFORD excellent thinking, Deb. Great to get some discussion going. Have you heard of the management guru Tom Peters who coined the phrase MBWA (Management By Walking Around) by which he means unless you get out of your office and interact with staff, be seen, be interested, communicate, then your management (or if you like your leadership) suffers.

  • I agree that fairness can be a value-laden term.

  • Brent, I am not sure subordinates will always give you a truthful answer.

  • More than 30 people have replied and of those, my rough count suggests 9 have undertaken a 360-degree test. So around 60% of respondents have not done that test. It is quite a good one to do because (1) it is anonymous and so respondents do not have to worry about the impact on them of saying something negative (therefore hopefully they give more honest...

  • It is an interesting reflection Phil that under stress, you may appear scary. I hope this course is helping :) I don't think (my opinion only) that subordinates need to know each emotion that you feel. They just need to understand what is happening and that they can/can't help. Why not just say, "I'm feeling a bit stressed at the moment" or "I'm aware that the...

  • I wrote an article a few years back that may be of interest.
    Dempsey, K (2009) ‘A terrible legacy: the lingering impact of predecessors on current leaders.’ Socio-Analysis No. 10 pp80-97

  • correct and as said before "perception is everything" because we act as if our perception is the truth.

  • but why is the more objective sounding person the more believable?

  • and it is so hard to admit that we are not well at work. It shouldn't be the case and yet it often is.

  • taking time to reflect is so helpful!

  • @JAREDROUSSETY very honest response Jared and you will clearly learn from this experience.

  • what might help you to remember this lesson? Why is it so easy to jump straight to unfair judgements?

  • here's another of my favourite sayings..."context is king" and you are learning this Garry.

  • what is a "favourable personality"? The Big 5 are generally considered to be more or less set by the time we are adolescents. There is not a lot we can each do to change these traits, but the key is learning to work with others, no matter their personality.

  • I think it is true that employees love being recognised for their work, but not if it is "too little, too late" or done in private, while the boss takes credit in public. Perhaps we have become more cynical since the 1960s!

  • nice summary of how things change over time. And you have illustrated my mantra to new leaders, "the leader speaks last"

  • I like your response Brent and I was thinking the same thing. Elsie, I have worked for (albeit small) organisations where influencing one person, does influence the whole organisation.

  • there are even studies done to show the power of humour to defuse conflictual situations and reach a better outcome as a result.

  • yes, I would say "it depends". Culture impacts on tactics employed, pressure of deadline impacts, high stakes impact, and then we can get desperate and revert to less helpful tactics to achieve power. Often the tactics we use are unconscious to us too. I also think there are not enough ticks in the Organisation column. Depending on the situation, several of...

  • But Emily, by encouraging and building confidence you are aiming for an influence, aren't you?

  • sometimes being logical just does not seem to work, although of course, it should. Perhaps think about how this is seen by the team receiving it. How might it feel to receive your message? Does it seem like you know everything and they are dumb? Perhaps phrase suggestions as questions, rather than statements of fact, so for example...what might happen if we do...

  • when I am coaching new leaders, I have a mantra for them..."the leader speaks last". What do you think?

  • @FionaGordon and Jennifer...why are they so different? What might be going on to cause that?

  • yes, outcomes never the person.

  • Ah, yes, personal power is limited when in new cultural settings. Very interesting Phil.

  • @SebastienLocteau Gareth Morgan's book Images of Organisations is excellent!

  • I wonder if maybe you have, but not consciously. Now you are aware of the idea, see if that changes things?

  • I agree Janine about how 'enmeshed' personal and positional power can be