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What's Good Australian Leadership for the 2020s?

Before the pandemic, the Australian Leadership Project concluded that there was a combination of 3 qualities of leadership that distinguished the typical good Australian leader - egalitarianism, self-effacing humour and plain speaking.  Emerging from the pandemic and fear, we know people want optimism and hope.  What do they want of their leaders?

Commencing November 2021, we sought to update our research with Australians having endured almost two years of the COVIOD pandemic.  We started with a web survey, "What's Good Australian Leadership in the 2020s?"

The Questions we asked were:

  • What do Australians want of their leaders or bosses?
  • Who have been the leaders in your life's journey? Who has inspired you?
  • What's your favourite story of a leader or boss you have worked with?
  • What are the qualities of Australian leadership and leaders which differentiate us globally?
  • Do you agree that the 2020s demands realistic and infectiously optimistic leadership?

What do Australians want of their leaders today?


It's interesting how many of the answers revert back to commentary on political leadership rather than leadership more generally.

"Strong but empathetic leaders focused on 'common-sense' solutions."

"To be honest, I am at a loss of what Australian's want of their leaders and for their country. As an Australian, I want greater accountability, vision and aspiration in leadership and the capability to inspire and enable the country to become something better, and then to become something great on the world stage (beyond sport or commodities exports)."

Lightly Edited Answers to this Question from Survey


Who have been the leaders in your life's journey? Who has inspired you?


What's your favourite story of a leader or boss you have worked with?

Some Examples:

“At the Sydney Vietnam welcome home march as we gathered ready to set off many of the troops were grumbling about giving eyes right to the then PM Bob Hawke. Just before we set off Mick said quietly we are moving ff now when we get to the Town Hall everybody will give an eyes right on my command. And everyone did.”

“Alan Veal was my 'boss' for 6 years and continually poured trust in me as consultant. This gave me great confidence in my abilities.”

“Paul Johnson as VC of La Trobe was a visionary who also managed the detail but had impeccable integrity - always focused on what was best for students.”

Hans Vestberg, my mentor at Ericsson, globally.    Hans is now the Chair and CEO of Verizon, following his decision to leave the race for CEO Microsoft. He impressed upon me; true leadership qualities of drawing on his own personality and experiences with honour and truth: authenticity.”

Dr Cherie Hugo, who gets up every day and goes again.      She has a purpose that is now her mission and all from a few residents at a nursing home 9 years ago asked her "can you fix it, you have to make it better Cherie."    Through adversity, knock backs, naysayers, people leaving to follow others, she is still here and pushing on.      And she does this with the most amazing smile every day!


What are the qualities of Australian leadership and leaders which differentiate us globally?


Word-Cloud for Other Qualities: It was interesting to see the very negative comments reserved for politics.  Leadership in Australia is often seen as the political leadership rather than leaders in other sectors.


Do you agree that the 2020s demands realistic and infectiously optimistic leaders?


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