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Liesl Phillips – Provide people with the freedom to make their own decisions and take accountability

Industrial Relations Manager for LabourNet


Liesl Phillips, the industrial relations manager for LabourNet has had 13 years of experience in industrial relations. As compliance partners to businesses. Liesl assists Labournet’s clients to resolve their labour related matters. The company’s national footprint means that they are able to service clients anywhere in South Africa.


She says that she has had the privilege of managing the KZN Industrial Relations team for the past five years. Liesl commented, “The people aspect of the business is something that I’m really passionate about as I believe in empowering people to reach their full potential.”


Building blocks to success

Hard work, having the right attitude and doing the right thing consistently over time, are said Liesl, the three things that have been the building blocks to her success. “There’s that very famous saying that nothing in life comes easy. And if it were easy, everyone would do it,” she added.


Thirteen years ago and straight out of university, her working career started with LabourNet. Liesl then relocated and for a short period left LabourNet. However, she added, “I love the brand so much that I ended up coming back and was subsequently promoted to industrial relations manager five years ago, and I’ve really been enjoying my role.”


An effective and productive leader

Liesl is proud to be an effective and productive leader and this success she believes is achieved through her people skills.


Liesl believes that it is important to empower people and continuously identify successors to ensure the sustainability of the business. She has done this by applying the leadership principles of servant leadership ensuring that she manages people individually based on their specific needs.


“Firstly, when I ask my team members how they are doing, I really care about the answer. Secondly, I trust my team and this to me is crucial in business. Providing support and frameworks is absolutely necessary but what is more important is to provide people with the freedom to make their own decisions and take accountability for their business.”


“I also actively focus on the growth of our business, and I am quite passionate about obtaining new business, which provides my team and I the opportunity to solve their problems and add value at a high level. I successfully led my team throughout the Covid 19 pandemic and proud to say that we managed to support our clients full time as well as pay full salaries to our staff.”


Be a cheerleader

Throughout her career Liesl has been inspired and motivated by multiple individuals and has had the privilege of working with some amazing mentors. She explained that challenges are something that we all face. For the longest time Liesl thought that she needed external validation to really believe in her own thoughts and initiatives. However, with the guidance of mentors and of cause some maturity, she started to realise that she needed to be her own cheerleader. She added, “I only need one vote and that was my own. The only person standing between you and your goals, is YOU.”


Focus on your mindset

Her advice to young women today is to focus on your mindset. “You can’t expect the A plus performance with a B minus mindset,” says Liesl. “We live in a world of information, with so many platforms to gain knowledge and inspiration. We shouldn’t wait for something or someone to make you great. Whether you enjoy reading business books, listening to podcasts, or watching TedTalk videos. Just do it! That is completely in your hands.”


An infinite game

“My future goals are to always play an infinite game, meaning that there’s no finish line. So, to continue to grow year on year,” said Liesl. “I’m also in the process of acquiring my business coach qualification. I think if in today’s time if you are not upskilling yourself or researching how to deal with a diverse workforce or with the upcoming Gen Z and millennials, you’re setting yourself up for failure.”


Liesl is determined to always be driven by being passionate about her position, irrespective of the title or the position she holds. “I think passion is the driving force to really make a difference in people’s lives. People don’t remember the bad days or the challenges they faced. They remember the leader and the mentor at the time and how that person actually made them feel.”


To relax and unwind

Commenting on creating balance in her life, Liesl says, “I’m very much of an extrovert and a social butterfly, so I enjoy just spending time with some friends and having a glass of wine. I enjoy outdoors, so my husband and I love going for hikes. We love spending weekends away and doing some adventurous things.”


In conclusion, Liesl said that being part of the KZN Top Business Women initiative has been very refreshing and it is an honour to be part of such a well organised event. “I think, if this story lands on one lady’s ears and I could motivate and leave her with something inspirational, then I feel that I’ve won something.”

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