Leadership in the Voluntary Sector

“I’m a great believer in personal chemistry—can I get on with somebody—because that has a huge influence, I think, on the way you will manage them. If you like them and you have chemistry, you will get the best performance out of them.”

David Bacon


You can expect a rollercoaster ride of topics in this week’s The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) Podcast as we talk with David Bacon, an experienced director, chief executive officer and senior executive in both the private and public sectors. This is someone with bucket loads of life experience who is now enjoying giving back, as a way to show gratitude towards his career and business success.


David’s career has spanned across media, regional economic development, community housing and the fast-moving consumer goods sectors. After an active broadcasting and journalism career in Australia, David spent almost a decade in London working as a communications specialist and chief global spokesman. In 1999 he returned to Australia to become Chief Executive of the Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters, which is now Commercial Radio Australia and was later General Manager of Radio 2UE in Sydney, before becoming the Director of Corporate Affairs at Southern Cross Broadcasting’s Melbourne head office. 


He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has also spent time as a career counsellor.


Have you read: Advisory Board vs Board of Directors – Jo Hanlon


It is reasonable to believe that during David’s career he has learnt a thing or two about Culture, Leadership and Teamwork, across business and sport – well as for sport, let’s just say he proudly wore the red and white Liverpool scarf during our interview (but that’s a whole other story)! From a slick, trained corporate spokesman for a tobacco company, to negotiating with the Government to establish an acceptable regime, after the commercial radio scandal involving John Laws and Alan Jones, as well as his role as the President of Rotary on the Central Coast, David has always operated with high ethical standards.


Experience has shown David that the best outcome is on the other side of a conversation and he understands the value of being an active listener. He reflects on a time when he used to see what needed to be done and say, “We don’t need to consult on this, let’s get on with it.” He has learnt over time that the world is not like that. You really need to be able to articulate where you want to go and take people along with you.


A lot of being successful is not about inventing the light globe. In today’s conversation, David touches on the definition of mundane management and the role it plays on the success of an organisation. He discusses how understanding and managing conflicts of interest can lead to a complete change of culture and how solid Governance structures can create a good legacy. David is also a great believer in recognising the value of personal chemistry. 


Have you read: The Leadership Journey of School Captains – Taylem Barnard & Robert Bacon


As a passionate community man, David may be semi-retired but he is determined to use his great corporate training to help people. This is evident in his key role in the Trinh Foundation’s work in bringing speech therapy to Vietnam through his involvement with Rotary. David is also heavily involved in the political landscape and has been appointed to the role of Deputy Chair of Regional Development Australia Central Coast.


For David, serving others is a real solid foundation for leaders as it reflects your attitude and part of your character – and leaders need to be strong characters. Click here to listen to the wisdom David generously shares with a focus on leadership in the voluntary sector.

"This post includes affiliate links for which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. You can check out our full Affiliate Disclosure here."