With the Wentworth bi-election just around the corner and the impending doom of another minority government, it has made me think about how our Australian leadership team has found itself in this mess, albeit, again.
When Malcom Turnbull took over the prime ministership from Tony Abbott, the collective public sigh could be heard across the country. We believed this man was a supporter of marriage equality, acceptor of climate change and believer of climate action. He spoke of a new style of leadership, respecting the intelligence of the voting public, innovation and technology, communication and an agile economy. He was a moderate (even a progressive) liberal. Just what we needed!
Political commentators were quick to describe the failings of the Turnbull prime ministership as his inability to be accepted by the far right, no matter what he offered up. But was that really it?
My observations of the Turnbull prime ministership goes a bit deeper than that. Over the months and years, bit by bit, Prime Minister Turnbull appeared to sell himself (and the voting public) out to placate the far-right party faction. The further he moved away from what the voting public perceived Turnbull stood for, the further away the polls swung. And whilst, he might say his beliefs never wavered, his actions certainly said otherwise. It appeared the cost for him to keep his job, was giving up his beliefs and values.
If Turnbull had been an authentic leader, one who made conscious choices aligned with their purposeful direction, their own sense of right and wrong and their values then perhaps Australia wouldn’t have its sixth Prime Minster in eight years.
An authentic leader is not trying to be something they’re not. Not trying to be all things to all people. They are not copying someone else’s leadership approach, or play-acting because they should. For all of us, when we become so attached to the job, the power, the status, the relationship, we are more likely to sell ourselves out, becoming less authentic. There many drivers and reasons for this including fear, the discomfort of vulnerability and old fashioned ego.
So, one has to ask, if Turnbull had been courageous, stayed the course, and remained true to his beliefs and values, if he had demonstrated Authentic Leadership, would Australia be looking down the barrel of another minority government?
Below is an activity to help you think about your own leadership. When are you most an authentic leader and what might cause you to be a less authentic leader.
Your experience of Authentic Leadership?