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7 Questions on Leadership with Monica Watt

Name: Monica Watt

Title: Founder and Chief Motivation Officer

Organisation: Incredible Buzz

Meet Monica Watt, the founder of Incredible Buzz. With a passion for growth and achievement, Monica is excited to take women in leadership on an incredible journey of success. With over 20 years of experience in HR and Business, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.

Having worked in diverse sectors including private, public, government, and not-for-profit, Monica fearlessly tackles any challenge that comes her way. She firmly believes that with the right plan, attitude, systems, and resources, any goal can be achieved.

Incredible Buzz stands out because it focuses on unleashing the full potential of businesses and women in leadership. Monica is dedicated to helping women to discover their true capabilities and achieve their dreams and aspirations. Whether a business leader, a new entrepreneur, an ambitious woman, or someone with a burning dream, Monica is there to champion them.

As a coach, mentor, consultant, executive, advisor, and fellow human being, Monica offers a unique and unconventional approach. She doesn't beat around the bush and draws from life experiences to find alternative solutions that will leave you amazed. Her drive comes from grit, and her guidance is rooted in humility.

Integrity, respect, and freedom are the core values that underpin Monica's work. In working with her, you can expect honesty, challenge, and unwavering support. She will helps women navigate a path to progress and ensure their best interests are at the forefront.

If you're ready to break free, make remarkable strides, and reach new heights, Incredible Buzz is the place to be. Monica will propel you forward and create extraordinary success together. Embrace the magical moments of growth and achievement with Monica Watt and Incredible Buzz. Let's embark on this incredible journey together!

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Monica's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

As a woman in a HR executive roles, one of the most challenging aspects I have faced is breaking through the stereotype that HR is less strategic and demonstrating my strategic capability. Despite my efforts to showcase the value and impact of HR in driving business success, I often found myself having to fight for recognition and credibility in an organisation.

Another significant challenge I encountered is the gender bias that exists. Despite my qualifications and expertise, I sometimes felt overlooked or displaced by my male counterparts in profit centres. Overcoming gender stereotypes and biases can be a constant battle, making it challenging to gain equal footing and recognition as a leader.

Despite these challenges, I remain committed to driving positive change and promoting a more strategic inclusive and diverse corporate culture. By leveraging my skills and experience, I strive to create opportunities for growth and advancement for all people, regardless of gender, and continue to push for HR's strategic importance to be recognised and valued at all levels of the organisation.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My journey to becoming a leader was unconventional and challenging. I left home early and didn't finish school, which presented significant obstacles in my path. However, as a single parent with four children, I was determined to improve my situation, and I decided to go back to school as an adult.

My first steps towards leadership came through my work in the hospitality industry, where I held multiple jobs and naturally found myself juggling numerous events. I quickly realised that providing a great experience to clients was key to success. As I progressed into management positions, my focus shifted to helping my teams succeed. I encouraged them to think outside the box and prioritise learning over simply acquiring knowledge.

Embracing opportunities was crucial to my growth. I was open to trying new things and accepting various roles. As a result, my responsibilities expanded, and I continued to value people and their potential. Others appreciated my belief in them and my ability to push them beyond their limits.

Over time, my experiences with both good and bad leaders shaped my understanding of the leader I wanted to become. I often found myself stepping into leadership roles as a protective barrier between my teams and poor leadership from above.

What sets me apart as a leader is my unwavering belief in people, helping them discover their unique strengths and talents. I approach challenges with curiosity, accountability, and strategic thinking. While my path to leadership was unconventional, my commitment to personal growth and empowering others has led me to become a leader who strives to make a positive impact on both individuals and organisations.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

It can vary, depending on my daily schedule, sometimes it is structured and other times it is lax.

Start the day early, with 5 minutes of Egoscue exercises to really loud music. I shower and yes it is a cold shower. I then have hot lemon water to remove the alkaline in my body. I have a health drink to focus on my gut health. I have time with my husband before heading to the laptop.

Breakfast: If I have breakfast it is usually porridge, or avo on toast.

Plan the day: Review priorities, check emails, and set goals for the day. I get to the most and time-sensitive tasks first up to get my head in the game.

Morning: I tend to do my personal learning here on my business or coaching.

Breaks: Take short breaks we stop as a family for morning tea at 10:30ish and then again for afternoon tea about 2pm. I try to get 30 minutes of exercise a day, not always the case, it could be a brisk walk, or a long walk.

Attend meetings and coaching calls, I give myself 15 minutes before and after for admin and mindset management

Lunch happens only sometimes, I am not a big eater so it will depend on breakfast. If I do, then my husband and I sit together.

Afternoon: Work on writing and recording content, and coaching calls.

Evenings: Some days are long as coaching calls and webinars for my clients are in the evenings, and I just want to get to bed. I do usually evaluate how things went for the days and plan for the next day, this includes setting alarms on my phone as I get carried away when in flow.

Dinner: whatever my dad cooks. Then my hubby and I might Netflix and chill. It all depends on my schedule.

Bedtime: I journal and I meditate using the Calm app, or Omvana depending on what I am focusing on. I aim for 7.5hours of sleep as that is optimal for me.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

One recent leadership lesson reminder is the importance of active listening. Actively listening to team members and stakeholders is crucial for effective leadership. It is easy to see the impacts of not giving someone my full attention, and when it happens I can lose rapport and their attention. I lost a potential client recently as I was more focussed on responding than listening. Ensuring that I listen to what others are saying, understanding their perspectives, and being empathetic is key to each interaction. I rate my attention at the end of each interaction and evaluate how attentive I was.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when the stakes are high by Joseph Grenny and Kerry Patterson. It has saved many a relationship and conversation as I start every interaction with heart. This book helped me to foster better communication, build trust, apply respectful and safe conflict resolution, and develop my emotional intelligence. I know using this learning I can create a positive and productive work environment that drives success for everyone and the organisation.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Never stop learning and growing. Life is all about learning, and at times you will be the smartest person in the room and other times you will not be. That is okay, just don't be a jerk about it. Stay curious and hungry for knowledge and never stop evolving as a leader. This dedication to learning will propel you towards greater success and make a positive impact on people's lives and success on your leadership journey.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Once in a company dominated by an boys' club and a profit-driven CEO, I was the determined HR Exec and faced an uphill battle. The executive team lacked experience and empathy, leaving me as the shield between their poor decisions and the workforce. Despite the challenges, I fought for employee rights and well-being, introducing progressive policies and advocating for a more people-centric approach. It was through resilience and perseverance, and building great relationships that I managed to transform the company culture and elevate the organisation to new heights of success. It highlight that leadership is a journey and about relationship building and being transparent ar critical to success. It is telling that not all leaders are equal, some have a ceiling, some are aspiring, some are amazing and some have a me not we focus. The most important thing for me is to be a mirror and help them see what they do not see. Crucial conversations are key, sometimes the mirror is welcome and other times it is not, yet that is what being in an executive team is all about. Calling that out while hard is key to help leaders grow in their roles and keep the work environment productive and harmonious.

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