Leadership Australian style

I’m excited to present our first guest blogger, David Davenport, who is a director of MetaSkill Consulting, a registered training organisation that provides training and consulting services in Australia and the Middle East. Enjoy!

Kris tells me she is including some new material on Australian leadership styles in the forthcoming, 6th, edition of Management Theory and Practice. I must say, I was initially sceptical! Two of our most prominent corporate leaders were just on TV engaged in a public biffo! My thoughts then ran to scare campaigns, a reactive blaming culture, attacking the person never the message, employees ensuring plausible deniability for their leaders and leaders replacing thinking skills with slogans…

But wait–is this really us? You can clearly see how distinctive the Australian leadership style is when you work overseas. I saw it for myself when working in the Middle East for seven years. It was a great opportunity to compare Aussie leadership with the leadership style of local leaders and ex-pats from other countries living there.

It was evident that Australians generally, and Australian leaders in particular, were recognised to be hard working, to not stand on ceremony, and to be highly professional and competent. People knew we would get the job done–no excuses. We were forthright and showed respect and consideration to people whatever their perceived social status.

As far back as WWI, our officers earned their respect; it wasn’t handed to them on a platter. Our leaders still need to earn respect. Perhaps this goes back to our egalitarian roots.

What will the next edition of Cole Management tell us is the Australian leadership style? At least I hope we can all agree that public brawling is an aberration, not the norm, for our corporate leaders!

Discussion questions

Are we as egalitarian as we like to think? Love to hear your thoughts on whether there is a distinctive Australian leadership style and if so, what are its characteristics.