The Australian Leadership Paradox: What It Takes to Lead in the Lucky Country

The Australian Leadership Paradox: What It Takes to Lead in the Lucky Country

The Australian Leadership Paradox: What It Takes to Lead in the Lucky Country

The Australian Leadership Paradox: What It Takes to Lead in the Lucky Country

Synopsis

Australians bemoan the quality of our leaders. We blame those in power for not showing leadership, only to turn on them when they start tackling the hard issues they are expected to fix. No wonder, then, that even the most passionate and talented among us hesitate to take up this important role. The Australian Leadership Paradox offers us a circuit breaker for this impasse, providing new insights into Australia's distinct leadership culture and showing us a new way forward. It exposes the inherent tensions in Australians' historical relationship with authority; interrogates our culture of mateship and egalitarianism, and challenges the narrative of a nation of Aussies battling adversity when we are actually living in "the lucky country." These tensions are the paradoxes of Australian leadership. Drawing on their extensive experience working with hundreds of leaders from government, business, and community organizations, Geoff Aigner and Liz Skelton show how it's possible for Australian leadership to be inspiring, sustainable, and effective- and how we can participate in creating the change we want to see in the world.

Excerpt

Order! I declare a general warning and I am very serious about it. And I
have a sense that members in this chamber are really ignoring how we are
perceived from outside. You are now all under a warning!

HON. HARRY JENKINS, SPEAKER
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT, JULY 6, 2011

The Australian and global leadership challenges that we face now and in the future will not be solved by our current ways of thinking. The focus on one leader, usually male, with expectations that he will solve our problems, while at the same time maintain our comfortable way of life, is past its use-by date. This expectation is impossible to fulfil and keeps us in a position of dependency. It is an idea about leadership that belongs to a time when there was less complexity and more certainty, when roles and expectations were much clearer and power was deployed in a traditional command and control style.

After more than a decade of consulting and teaching at Social Leadership Australia (SLA) we hear two unmistakeable messages. Firstly, that we face a unique Australian leadership . . .

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