Understanding the Challenges Facing Indigenous Leaders

Understanding the Challenges Facing Indigenous Leaders

Young, emerging leaders share their experiences to help us understand what it means to be an indigenous leader in the real world.


The Australian Journal of Public Administration published a study in 2016 to define indigenous leadership. Based on in-depth interviews of a select group of young Australian and New Zealand indigenous cohorts, it follows the indigenous participants’ experience in leading government-initiated projects. 


Described as “exercising influence and working across boundaries”, the study documents how the participants view the challenges, as well as the rewards, of being an indigenous leader in a cross-cultural setting. What it found was an approach to leadership that’s rooted in their indigenous identity – proud and confident with a deep sense of community. 

Being true to one’s identity is essential 


The leaders highlight the importance of being true to one’s indigenous identity. Communicating your culture, where you come from and who your people were, is essential to earning acceptance as a leader. 


A need to exercise agency 


Despite the leaders’ previous accomplishments working in mainstream organisations, they found it difficult to get recognition and ‘buy-in’ for their initiatives. Mainstream employers expect indigenous leaders to simply execute on orders rather than exercise adaptive leadership. 


Indigenous Leadership - Agency

Culture as a source of strength and motivation 


The continuing strength of aboriginal culture is present in all interactions of indigenous leaders. It’s what drives them to connect with people within and outside their community. They view leadership as an opportunity to earn respect, acceptance and legitimacy in the mainstream society. 


Indigenous Leadership - Culture as a source of strength

The bottom-line 

Indigenous leaders draw inspiration from their culture and values to drive the efforts and talents of others towards a common goal. While this is too simple a definition, this does not undermine the unusually difficult challenges of an indigenous leader in the dominant, non-indigenous workplace. 



The Indigenous Leadership Summit brings together inspiring indigenous leaders, human resource experts and decision-makers in private business and in government, to examine diversity and ensure greater career opportunities for indigenous people. Reserve your spot today.  


Transform Your Company Culture with Authentic Leadership

Transform Your Culture with Authentic Leadership

Back for its fifth year, the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 presents an exceptional speaker lineup composed of inspiring luminaries in government, media, business and the arts, to talk about transformative leadership through authenticity, openness, and trust.


The summit is a carefully curated 4-day program focusing on the core tenets of Authentic Leadership and how you can employ its principles in your organisation, drive outstanding business outcomes and make our world a better place at the same time.


Check out the profiles and content of the impressive headliners speaking at this year’s Authentic Leadership Summit —


Authentic Leadership Summit Speaker - Ita Buttrose


Ita Buttrose is a truly exceptional Australian: a legendary media trailblazer, businesswoman, best-selling author, committed community and welfare contributor and former Australian of the Year. In 2019 Ita became a Companion of the Order of Australia for her service to the community through leadership in the media, the arts, the health sector and as a role model.


Ita is currently Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She balances this high-profile role with charitable responsibilities with organisations Dementia Australia, Macular Disease Foundation, Arthritis Australia and Breast Cancer Network Australia. Ita was also the founding editor of Cleo, the youngest ever editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly, the first woman to ever edit a major metropolitan newspaper in Australia as Editor-in-Chief of the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, and the first female director of News Ltd Australia.


Authentic Leadership Summit Speaker - Roger Eaton

While authenticity is instinctive for some leaders, for most it requires a deep understanding of one’s own strengths and weaknesses to make the leap. It is a combination of personal security, humility, transparency and most of all a servant leader mindset.


Fundamentally, it has to backed with strong knowledge, a high-performance ethos and a determination to get the team to the line regardless of self. KFC is built on a rock-solid culture and the strength of its brand to carry the same energy and ethos to its globally-reaching touchpoints.


As former CEO of the global business, Roger Eaton joins us to explain how authentic leadership drove the organisation from strength to strength, and most importantly examine the successes, challenges and lessons they learned along the way.


Authentic Leadership Summit Speaker - Mark Zusak


International bestselling author Markus Zusak’s haunting novel The Book Thief spent over 500 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list after its publication in 2006, with a movie adaptation released in November 2013.


His newest bestseller, Bridge of Clay, did not come about easily. Like any great leader, a great artist knows that failure is an essential aspect of progress and achievement, signaling a challenge worth pursuing or at least teaching you a lesson in the process. As Markus says: “Failure has been my best friend as a writer. It tests you, to see if you have what it takes to see it through.”


Join Markus for a rare insight into his creative process, particularly his thoughts on failure, and the universal insights that we can derive from it.


Authentic Leadership Summit Speaker - Katrina Troughton


In July 2019 Katrina Troughton became the first woman to be appointed as Managing Director of IBM ANZ, following a 28-year career at the company in local, regional and global roles. Katrina has never worked for another company, having started as a graduate trainee in New Zealand in 1990, and working her way up to the top job in A/NZ after a globetrotting career with the business.


The modus operandi that has driven her rise is a refusal to get bored in a role, and to actively seek and accept new challenges that have come her way. Her session will focus on how all leaders need to say yes to opportunities for growth, even when they may be outside your comfort zone.


Authentic Leadership Summit Speaker - Karen Lawson


Karen is an award-winning business executive and leader in the digital and startup industry. As the former CEO of Slingshot, she grew the business into the #1 corporate accelerator in Australia. Prior to her role at Slingshot, Karen served as CEO of CareerOne, and served as the General Manager at Yahoo!7.


If you’ve ever worked for a successful start-up, you’d know that it involves wearing many hats and fast-paced growth. Therefore, ensuring your people are supported, coached and equipped to thrive is an essential aspect of success. Karen joins us to tell you how you can deliver great results by helping others reach their true potential.


Authentic Leadership Summit Speaker - Tom Rogers


Tom Rogers has been a leader and an advocate for leadership education his entire career. Having graduated as an officer from the Royal Military College (RMC) Duntroon in 1983 he went on to serve the Australian Defence Force Academy as Senior Instructor in Leadership at RMC Duntroon, Commander of a United Nations observer mission on the Golan Heights, and Executive Director at the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM delivering highly respected executive development programs for leaders and future leaders of Australasian police.


In December 2014 Tom was appointed the Australian Electoral Commissioner, and having recently been appointed for another five-year term, continues to lead the organisation to deliver the Australian citizen’s right to vote.

Our key resource speakers have achieved new levels of success by being their true selves at work and having a shared purpose with their organisation and its people.

Sign up for The Authentic Leadership Summit and learn how you too can support, engage and empower your teams to succeed.

Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 - March 17 to 20

4 tips for setting individual KPIs for your team

Setting individual KPIs for each of your employees is probably one of the most important things you can do in your business. But it doesn’t end there – there’s so much more to KPIs with just setting them!

KPIs are absolutely essential to driving business results, improving employee satisfaction and reducing employee turnover. All of these are pretty important, right? Obviously should be top priorities. After all, you want your team to be motivated and to feel empowered to make a real difference in their career and in their workplace, for the wider world.

Without clear, concise and constructive KPIs, employees can be left feeling a lack of purpose and direction not just within company, but also in their career journey. You want to steer away from this at all costs!

As a manager or business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure you have an effective KPI system for employees. But how exactly do you do it?

My top 4 tips for setting individual KPIs for your team:

  • Set stretch KPIs. If your employee wants to move up in the business, their KPIs should be stretch i.e. difficult to achieve, but it should also be made clear that just passing isn’t enough – exceeding is where you need them to be.
  • Think about what needs to be done. What does the company need to achieve in order to get it here you want it to go, and how will the input of individuals affect that? For example, if you want an extra $100,000 in revenue from your team, you then need to work back from that number. How many calls do they do now to get that number? How many extra would they make? Emails to send out? Whatever goal is the KPI or action the staff member has to take must to correspond accordingly.
  • Performance measurement and follow up is essential. How do you measure/track performance and how do you feed it back to people? Performance metrics should be visible and clear where everyone can see them and know where they sit against others of the same position. It can either be a great motivator or a real kick in the face as to where they think their performance is at.
  • Seek feedback from your employee on what their goals are and what they want to achieve. If that’s a promotion or a sideways step – their KPIs need to align with both what the organisation needs and where they want to go, what they want to be.

Would you like to learn how to create a culture of high-performance and authenticity, and how you can best support, engage and empower your people to succeed? Back for its fifth year, the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 teaches you how to lead with greater purpose in the contemporary business climate. Early bird rates end in 7 days, so now is the time to get your tickets. Register here.

Are You Future-Fit to Lead?

Are You Future Fit to Lead?

What are the challenges that could make or break leaders in the future of work? Managing rapid socio-economic and technological change, job automation and disruption, increasing customer expectations, evolving talent needs are chief among them.


Deloitte’s research on Global Human Capital suggests that expanding on traditional leadership skills will enable you to navigate the new and unfamiliar business landscape.


See how your abilities match up in this checklist of competencies based on the study and determine your leadership fitness in the 21st century. 


Are You Future-Fit to Lead - Checklist


The question is – as a leader, are you able to update your toolkit fast enough to carry your organisation forward?  

The quickest way to your leadership development is to learn-by-doing and to seek advice from a supportive community of leading-edge professionals. 

Sign up for The Leadership Institute Training and Events to learn from the country’s top executives and coaches who will empower you with the knowledge and confidence to take on future business challenges. 

view all our learning events and training courses

Why the Leader-Manager is the Ideal Executive

Leaders and managers are distinctive but complementary roles. One cannot function without the other in executive leadership. 


When it comes to preparing yourself for high-level roles, the prevailing belief is that you should stop acting like a manager and be more of a leader.  


Author and business professor, John Kotter suggests that – management and leadership are different but complementary skill sets. They need to work in tandem as you mature into an executive role.  


Knowing these fundamental differences between a leader and a manager, according to Kotter, will help you understand why one cannot function without the other. 


(Source: What Leaders Really Do by John P. Kotter, December 2001 Harvard Business Review )


 Leader vs Manager


Invest in your success by sharpening both your leadership and management skills. Reserve your spot today for the Authentic Leadership Summit and elevate your executive development. 


Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 - March 17 to 20



3 Ways Authentic Leaders Win the Talent Game

Authentic leaders enjoy a reputation for being effective people managers – able to engage a fiercely loyal and talented team to drive exceptional results


In today’s talent-driven economy, where there are fewer skilled talents than jobs, candidates are looking for intangibles like “real” leadership aside from top-of-market salaries and benefits.  


What does it take to be a “real” leader and why does it matter in hiring and retaining talent? 


“Real” or authentic leadership demands sincerity, genuine support and integrity. Top candidates are looking for these attributes in their would-be bosses – leaders whom they believe will value them and invest in their future success.  


3 Ways Authentic Leaders Win the Talent Game 


1. They attract and retain the right people 

Many leaders underestimate the cost of employee turnover. If things don’t work out, they immediately fire and hire another. 

Consider this  – each lost employee can conservatively cost a company 33% on average of the employee’s base pay.  To put it another way, for every three people who leave the company for the same expense, would cost an additional full-time employee. (Source: Work Institute 2018 Retention Report)

Authentic leaders understand that every team member brings something special to the organisation and aren’t merely a set of skills with a price tag. They make sure to engage each employee for the long term by developing and realising potential.


2. They understand human motivation 

Today’s workforce is motivated by meaning and connection – what can they can get out of working for your organisation beyond salaries and benefits? Any company can offer that. What makes you any different?   

Authentic leaders nurture talent by creating a culture of belonging and recognition.  They spark their employees’ ambitions and match them with opportunities in the organisation.


3. They inspire people to become powerful advocates for the company 

According to a study by the Edelman Trust Barometer, an employee advocating for the company is twice more likely to be trusted than the CEO. Additionally, 70% of respondents trust the personal posts of co-workers, friends and family compared to only 15% who trust the posted messages from the official company account. 

Imagine the power of a story – an employee sharing an uplifting and inspiring work experience. Authentic leaders ignite a passion within the employee to amplify the message on behalf of the company. 


Sign up for the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 to attract and retain top talent by leading with purpose, meaning and passion. 


Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 - March 17 to 20

10 Fundamental Responsibilities of a Leader

10 Fundamental Responsibilities of a Leader

Refer to this quick, actionable guide for learning what it takes to lead with organisational purpose, responsibility and trust.


On September 15, 2008, the centuries-old banking institution Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. It was the largest corporate disaster in history which pushed the US economy to the brink of collapse. But the impact was not only felt financially. It triggered a widespread and on-going distrust – causing customers to suspect that they’re being duped.


What can leaders do to restore faith in businesses?


Leaders can start by holding themselves up to a higher standard of governance, purpose and responsibility in order to build and rebuild trust. (Read: Authenticity in Action – Your 10-Point Checklist on How to Build and Rebuild Organisational Trust)


To understand what it takes to lead in the responsible pursuit of business outcomes, we consulted some of the country’s leading business minds, CEOs, MDs and academics who have spoken at our events. 


Based on their responses, we have identified the 10 Fundamental Responsibilities of a Leader  your actionable guide to drive organisational purpose, responsibility and trust 


10 Fundamental Responsibilities of a Leader


Evolve your leadership skills to cultivate organisational trust and enhanced reputation alongside Australia’s top CEOs and MDs. Check out our 2020 lineup of leadership learning events and reserve your spot today. 



The 5-Step Process to Defining Authentic Leadership

5 Step Process to Defining Authentic Leadership

Learn the Process to Defining and Understanding your Potential for Becoming an Authentic Leader and Inspire Meaningful Success 


We first heard the term “authentic leadership” as a management concept back in 2003 when author Bill George challenged corporate America to lead authentically in his book – Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. 

He pointed out that “authentic leaders of mission-driven companies will create far greater shareholder value than financially oriented companies.” It was in the wake of the 2001 Enron corporate scandal and the world was generally distrustful of big business. 

The book was an urgent call for a new kind of leader – the authentic business leader. 


Defining the Authentic Leader 

Over the years, readers of the book, notably c-suite executives, have acknowledged the need for authentic leaders and wanted to become one themselves. 

So, what does it take to become an authentic leader? 

An authentic leader must stake personal integrity and responsibility in the pursuit of meaningful and lasting success. 

According to Bill George, authentic leaders are driven by a moral and ethical purpose and never lose sight of their core values and principles. They lead with their hearts, cultivate long-term relationships and demonstrate excellence through self-discipline. 

To further illustrate the elements that define authentic leadership, let’s contrast them with traditional leadership traits. 


Traditional vs Authentic Leadership


You do not have to be naturally gifted with leadership traits, or be at the top of your organisation to become an authentic leader. You do not have to ask for permission or wait to be discovered. You only need to be responsible for your self-improvement.  

Authentic leadership demands that you aim to be a force for good by learning to be your best self. To be an authentic leader then is an attainable ideal – everyone has the potential to become one by committing to “learn-by-doing” 

Begin to carve your path to leading authentically by reflecting on these questions –  


Infographic - The 5 Step Process to Defining Authentic Leadership


Australia’s most trusted leaders are coming together for the Authentic Leadership Summit in Sydney on March 26. Join them and learn how you can discover your ‘why’ – your true purpose and values as a leader. Reserve your spot today. 


Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 - March 17 to 20


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Bad management and how to stop it

Stopping bad management ruining businesses and stagnating people’s careers is something that I’m really passionate about. When it comes to bad management, it isn’t just about intimidation or belittling, deliberately setting unachievable targets or projecting the stereotypical “horrible bosses” behaviour. It can be as simple as leaving staff wondering what their goals are, resulting in them not being able to achieve them, or a dereliction of duty because it’s too hard or too confronting.

In 2020, I’m challenging CEOs, CFOs, CMOs and everything in between, no matter what the size of the business or organisation, to stop bad management and to have the tough conversations that turn managers into leaders.

I’ve worked in small, medium and large organisations in the education sector and have been fortunate enough to meet hundreds of managers from some of the largest organisations in the country to start-up business owners trying to find their way. Some of the key things I have learnt along the way include:

  • Communication is key – people have to know what to expect and how they are to deliver on those expectations
  • It’s recognition – staff should know when they have done a good job and have shown the right commitment
  • It’s providing an environment of psychological safety, of allowing people to ask the hard questions and not being afraid of addressing concerns
  • It’s leading by example and modelling the behaviour you want others to emulate and being brave enough to call out behaviour that is not OK
  • It’s making values and standards clear and visible and recognising behaviour the exemplifies those values and standards because allowing poor behaviour to continue says clearly to other staff that that behaviour is OK, but it also says to them you don’t care enough about them or the company to stop it

So, my question to you is – how will you change your management style in 2020?

If you’re looking for ways to enhance your management style, join us for the upcoming Authentic Leadership Summit being held in Sydney from the 17-20 March 2020. Back for its 5th year, keynote speakers include, Ita Buttrose, Larry Marshall, Tim Kelsey and Mike Baird to name a few. Early bird pricing is available in until the 14th February 2020 – book here.

5 ways to be a better leader in 2020

Every year I host 35 leadership summits, present over 500 high profile speakers and educate more than 2500 attendees looking for that golden nugget to become a better leader within their business or organisation.

I truly believe that what got you here, won’t get you there. So, don’t be complacent and think that where you’re at right now is good enough, because sadly that’s when you get left behind. Chase the desire to be best in practice and be open to learning from others to stay ahead of the game.

Leadership isn’t something that you’re born with, it’s a learnt skill that needs constant nurturing and development throughout your life and career. Combine this with the fast paced, technologically advanced world we live in, where there seems a new gadget, app or way of doing things everyday – it can become very overwhelming!

It’s time to get back to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) way of doing things and put a plan together for your leadership journey in 2020. The key thing is to make sure it’s realistic and something you will stick to for the longer term and not just a temporary thing.

No matter what stage of the leadership journey you’re at, keep it simple with my top five ways to be a better leader in 2020 include:

  1. Create an Executive Toolkit: Start with your values and write them down, this will give you a way to measure yourself against the qualities your ‘ideal leader’. Knowing who you are and what you stand for will assist your team in measuring themselves in a positive way, leading them to feel valued, and as a by-product, even more motivated.
  2. Allocate time: Block out time in your calendar and schedule the events and training sessions you want to attend throughout the year. If you schedule it in advance, you’re more likely to attend and follow through.
  3. Get educated: Book in formal training, internally or externally and make time to attend it. Conferences for straight from the source learning, deconstructed university courses or one day industry focused trainings. Whatever it is, make time for it. Compile a selection of books to read throughout the year, if reading is not your thing – try an audiobook on the way to work. I’d start with my favourite business author Brené Brown and aim for one per month.
  4. Engage a mentor or sponsor: You’d be surprised how many experienced CEOs, entrepreneurs and educators are looking to mentor or sponsor upcoming talent. Simply make a list of the people who inspire you and reach out.
  5. Network: Attend networking events! You should find that a lot of courses and summits include a networking session at the end of the first day. Plan to stay for the duration, and although it’s like speed dating, you never know who you might meet or what opportunity might arise.

We have now released our 2020 calendar of events. Key highlights of the line-up include:

It’s going to be our biggest year yet! Don’t miss a thing – subscribe to our mailing list to receive all of the latest up to date information on the latest relevant training courses, scheduling information, news and offers. Simply scroll to the bottom of our home page and enter your details to subscribe. See you around!