Leading with authenticity


Leading with authenticity

In the week of the RBS Sponsored British LGBT Awards, Louise Smith Head of Design, Personal and Business Banking explains how the bank is building an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Blog Author Image
Louise Smith
Head of Design, Personal and Business Banking
Blog

11 May 2016

Louise Smith is Head of Design in Personal and Business Banking.

As an openly gay female I'm very interested in inclusion. For me it's about creating the right environment and making sure we support people so they can be their whole selves, and talk about their lives, when they're at work.

I'm easily identifiable, I wear the same glasses that Michael Caine wore in the sixties film, The Ipcress File and I wear a lot of tweed. But for many people I imagine it's exhausting when they have to be two people, one at work and one at home.

To make inclusion a reality you have to have a passion for understanding what makes people think the way they do. You also have to want to improve the environment that we work in, the culture. I'm keen to promote unconscious bias training for our staff because there can be unintended offence caused in what people say or do. People sometimes don't know what to say, so they say nothing which can be just as awkward.

I believe the diversity and inclusion agenda has moved forward during my time at the bank but that there is still a long way to go. A lot of people are still uncomfortable talking about inclusion but authentic leaders can change that. If you work for someone who's authentic then you know that they get it and you'll follow them. If you don't have to think, or worry about, whatever part of you is different to the majority of people - be it a disability or your sexual orientation- then you can give your all to your role.

If we are diverse then, naturally, a more diverse range of customers will want do business with us and there is research that reinforces my belief that a business truly performs when it has, and galvanises, a diverse workforce.

Some people think a diverse recruitment policy is about achieving a percentage, but it's so much more than that. It's about ensuring we have the breadth of skills we need to get this bank where we want it to be in the future.

Posted In

Blog

Related articles

Senior female bankers offer tips to new generation

In the week when RBS hosts the Women In Business Conference, our senior women in business offer their advice to the newest generation of banking recruits.

Mary Somerville to appear on new Royal Bank of Scotland £10 note

The Royal Bank of Scotland has today announced that Mary Somerville will appear on its new polymer £10 notes, set to be issued in the second half of 2017.

Latest news

Royal Bank of Scotland hosts ‘Easy Wins Live’ event

The event explored today’s ‘always on’ world and the pressure Scots face as they struggle to balance life inside and outside of work.

To win the fight against fraud and scams, it is vital to educate young people.

Primary school children in Currie, Edinburgh put on their detective hats last week to learn more about fraud and scams thanks to the Royal Bank of Scotland MoneySense programme. Les Matheson, CEO of Personal Banking, tells us why it’s so important to financially educate young people.

New NatWest debit cards now accessible for all customers

New card features are being rolled out from today with all cards having a notch and raised dots.

Set Tab for lightbox