The Revolution in Australian Leadership

The Revolution in Australian Leadership


Australian leadership is slowly going through a period of evolution and radical change, driven by the need to have hands on leaders in organisations that not only understand the different styles of leadership, but know how to apply them in real life.

Being a leader in the future will not just be about becoming an expert in leadership styles and exponents of values such as authenticity, integrity and empathy; it will require us all to become experts and practical application specialists in other skill sets. Skill sets such as organisational change theory, business ethics, strategic management, diversity and emotional intelligence are some of the specialisations required to keep pace with the ever growing organisational need for all encompassing leaders that understand and can successfully apply many theories.

The future breed of leader will be able to understand the many forms of resistance to change, be able to reframe situations and make successful organisational decisions based on a utilitarian or Kantian approach to ethical decision making. They will be able to story tell and practically apply Mintzberg’s 5Ps and Porters 5 forces in the strategic planning and implementation process.

They also understand the value of emotional intelligence, as well as the many different leadership styles such as transformational, servant, situational and transactional. They will articulate and apply Tuckman’s or Gersick’s models for group development and utilise Janez’s facilitation techniques to build and embrace diverse teams.

Indeed, some of the leading business universities such as Harvard, Stanford and Ashridge are dictating that future leaders cannot just spout theory, but need to be able to apply it on a day by day basis. This has led to a gradual change in direction with education providers aligning themselves with programs that go into more depth, teaching leaders not just about the theory, but how to be all-encompassing, hands on leaders in organisations.

Driving this change is the continually evolving world we live in with globalisation, disruption, digitalisation and intergenerational differences that demand lateral thinking and structures that embrace diversity, serve others needs before your own, and dictate leadership skill sets and styles that have been adapted to suit many differing theories. Adaptation will mean being able to understand and practically apply the many forms of theory mentioned above in real life situations, and then transfer the theory and practical learning to others so that they can carry on the leadership journey.

As you go through this journey you become wiser, learning from the crucibles of leadership, constantly analysing, evolving and understanding the impacts and consequences of any decisions before you make them. In turn, you increase your capability to make better decisions and understand yourself as a leader, including your emotions, feelings, behaviours and personality – critical realisations before attempting to understand other people’s emotions, behaviours and perceptions.

This article was written by AIB Industry Guest Lecturer, Tony Beaven. Tony is the General Manager of Elders Financial Planning Pty Ltd. 

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