Leadership Is A Behaviour, Not A Title: QMS’ Tennille Burt On The Importance Of A Consistent & Impactful Leadership Style

Leadership Is A Behaviour, Not A Title: QMS’ Tennille Burt On The Importance Of A Consistent & Impactful Leadership Style

As the chief marketing officer of QMS Media, Tennille Burt is an empowering and human-centric leader who encourages high-performing teams into action.

She is an ambitious, clear, pragmatic, visionary leader who holds her teams and herself accountable for producing exceptional brand outcomes.

Ahead of the B&T Women In Media Awards, presented by Are Media, B&T sat down with Burt to discuss her journey into the media industry and how she uses consistency in her leadership style to ensure maximum impact.

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B&T: What inspired you to pursue a career in media?

Burt: Media was an unexpectedly wonderful fall down the rabbit hole for me. I was still studying when I landed a part-time role at Prime Television in North Sydney. I was soon hooked by the energy, creativity and camaraderie of the industry, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

B&T: Who has been your biggest role model that has helped you get where you are today?

Burt: There have been many professional role models in my career, but the person I ultimately credit is my mum. I’m grateful for her steely determination, her commitment to ‘showing up’ even when it would be easier not to, and the power of empathy in connecting with others. They’ve proven to be a great roadmap for life!

B&T: What do you think the benefits are of having women in leadership positions?

Burt: When I first started in media, there were only two female leaders in the entire business. Today, I am fortunate to be one of the 36 per cent of female executives at QMS, so things have come a long way (but yes, there’s still much further to go).

Aside from the well-documented themes of diversity of opinion and experience, positive role modelling, and equity in gender roles and opportunities, the female leaders I have worked with (and still do!) know how to get sh*t done. Whether this is through increased EQ, greater collaboration skills or cutting to the heart of an issue effectively, there is nuance in the way we work with others that drives a result. And this is valuable for profits and people.

B&T: If I were to ask what pivotal moment in your career pushed you to where you are now, what would it be and why?

Burt: Moving out of media sales and reimagining my career in marketing in the major events space. It gifted me a holistic view of who and what contributes to a brand.

It also taught me the value of diversity of opinion, expression, and representation, the magic of creativity, and the discipline of listening and communicating with customers.

B&T: Could you share a specific instance where your leadership style has made a significant impact?

Burt: I don’t feel there is just one instance. Leadership, to me, is the way we show up each day. As my Executive Coach Jac Phillips says, ‘leadership is a behaviour, not a title’. So, I’d like to think the consistency in my leadership style—that being collaboration, creativity, empathy, and accountability—has a cumulative effect on my impact.

B&T: How does your approach differ from that of your male counterparts?

Burt: I like to see it as a complement, not a difference.

B&T: What specific industry trends or changes have you observed recently that have sparked your interest and why?

Burt: The macro trend I am seeing globally is women being genuinely good business partners. Women are just naturally competent at diversity in its broadest sense—meaning we can find a way to work with everyone and under any circumstance—and that is where the gold lies.

It also invariably means women can focus on the day-to-day of running businesses and teams whilst simultaneously thinking, caring and taking action on the broader issues that require our society’s urgent attention and care.

There are, and always will be, global issues of significant impact, burning local issues and immediate needs of the business that need addressing simultaneously.

It’s a juggling act requiring great teamwork. And women excel in this space.

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