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Ineffective leadership in Australia has created a culture of weakness

By Tony Holmwood - posted Monday, 27 May 2019

In Australia, our political system promotes all the wrong childhood, competitive behaviours like tactical play, groupthink, manipulating, and even backstabbing over our more mature adult behaviours. Our emotionally mature adult behaviours are about creating trust and longer-term strategy through open environments, to encourage collaboration, constant feedback and diverse views so people at every level can input to solutions is what Australia is missing. Command control leaders in their ivory towers are the last to know about solutions from the coalface – and that's only if they are prepared to listen! That's why our politicians are more likely to represent problems and to prey on people's fears and insecurity.

As a result, our political system attracts the worst of Australia. We have career politicians who would never make it outside our parliaments and make a real community contribution. These transactional leadership styles are ignorant to what it takes to grow the population. Without inspiration, hope and providing secure pathways, people in the community have no idea what skills are required or how they need to respond to support growth.

Would you even cross the road to greet Pauline Hansen, Clive Palmer or even Scott Morrison if passed in the street? The Australian people need to challenge the system and lobby for change. We are at a crossroads. Like the US, our political environment supports a culture of fear and insecurity, rather than strength and growth. The command control politicians of our age are now more likely to succeed with a weakened population without growth prospects.


We in the communities feel helpless, we have lost trust in the political system and recognise the need for change. Our industrial age bureaucratic institutions need to be transformed into ones that support leaders who can inspire and use their creative right brains to represent visions of the future – otherwise we are lost, without direction – and change resistant.

Bill Shorten was not charismatic, didn't engage with the people, nor listen to the groundswell of opinion who didn't like him. He lacked trust. But he persisted, and people could see his quest for power was for personal gain. What's more, he persisted through 2 elections and labour would have romped home with a more charismatic, trusting leader who could express inspiration and a vision for the country. Leaders who manage their esteem, do not have the confidence to engage their right brained spatial awareness (Emotional Intelligence) for strategy. Insecure leaders are not aware of the bigger picture, supported by our creative minds to represent trust and purpose.

Bill's background in the unions didn't prepare him to deliver real world solutions. Although he openly talked about fairness and equality, he had no long-term vision for Australia. When asked about his low approval rating, he would deflect – confirming he was not fit to lead. Transactional behaviours employed by most politicians are all about protecting esteem, this signifies our selfish egoistic behaviours. Command control leaders are not learnt in their right brain capabilities to create growth opportunities – they lack the maturity of understanding and confidence to engage their right brain. Bill lost the election to the detriment of his party and ultimately the country as we are so in need of secure leadership who can express hope and future growth strategies.

In the end Scott Morrison got elected, not because he will make a good leader, but because he appealed to the fears and insecurities of the less educated people in our communities who want secure jobs. Like Bill, Scott Morrison is incapable of selling a future strategy because he cannot engage his right brain – he lacks emotional intelligence.

This is our conundrum in Australia – we have created a culture which supports weakness rather than strength and growth. And this puts Australia at a disadvantage as we enter the Collaboration Age – the age of social purpose and emotional intelligence.

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About the Author

Tony Holmwood is a cultural change and Ei coach, author of “Best Behaviour” and founder of Outperf4m.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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