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Rich Jones: Leadership blog

Friday 01 March 2019

Senior Acas Advisor, Rich Jones talks about the challenges around implementing better leadership in the workplace

Rich Jones Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser windowRich Jones

Rich Jones is a senior adviser who offers in-depth advice and support to employers, delivers training on more complex matters and undertakes mediation and collective conciliation work.


As an Acas senior adviser my job involves visiting employers all over Yorkshire and the Humber delivering training and helping them with issues around bullying and harassment, discipline and grievance and conflict management.

One of the biggest challenges I face is trying to get workplaces to shift from an 'us and them' culture to one based upon mutual respect and employee engagement that drives up productivity.

Making this shift is often about changing the way people think about leadership. This was brought home to me during work I did a few years ago at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Yes, there was a problem at a senior level that needed addressing, but tackling bullying and promoting positive behaviour was also about empowering managers at all levels - giving them the responsibility and power to change the workplace culture.

The new Acas Framework for Effective Leadership is about seeing the part managers at all levels play in creating the right kind of workplace culture. It does this by splitting leadership into four key components.

  • Personal style - the bit of us we all bring to work which defines who we are
  • Workplace culture - those often unwritten rules which drive how people behave in particular work environments
  • Communication skills - the way we both speak and listen using a range of communication media
  • The big workplace issues - how leaders deal with tricky conversations and procedures concerning things such as performance, attendance and discipline

The following video clip tells the story of how 'us and them' can become 'we are all in this together' by focussing on employee engagement and adopting a completely different approach to who sets the standards and who maintains values at work....

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