News

14 September 2017 By Will Brodie

Michael Dowling was recently honoured with an Order of Australia  for “…significant service to the community of Geelong through leadership with a range of social welfare, business and education organisations.”

Modest Michael makes it sound like he was simply in the right place at the right time. On his first day with chartered accountants Day Nielson, in 1976, the Art Gallery of Geelong rang, seeking a replacement secretary.

Michael didn’t know there was a gallery in Geelong. He’d been in town for less than a week. But he became secretary for eight years, then President. 

“People who have a board or organisation who are thinking of setting something up, they need someone with a legal background, someone with a financial background… So often you would get asked ‘can you do this?’.”

Michael answered ‘yes’ more often than not.

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14 September 2017 By Will Brodie

Resilience is a leadership cornerstone as the modern workplace become more volatile.

As author Rosabeth Moss Kanter puts it: “When surprises are the new normal, resilience is the new skill.”

Leadership academic Will Sparks defines resilience as “the ability to respond effectively to disruptive events”.

He's inspired by philosopher, psychoanalyst and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, who said that “choosing our response – our attitude – to any situation is the only true freedom we possess.”.

Here are some ploys experts offer to help foster resilience.

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11 September 2017 By Christopher Lee

After an eventful past few days in the Igniting Leadership Program and ample discussions on the meaning of leadership, we progressed onto Day 4 of the program where we focused on the use emotional intelligence and the impact of “culture” within the workplace. There was a variety of discussion which challenged common preconceptions that our group had, especially on the true meaning of “culture” and how we can demonstrate and improve in our leadership styles.

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10 September 2017 By Anne Mukankusi-Otyek

Leadership without Authority

This last week was our half-way point through the African Leadership Development Program. Today we discussed the theme of leadership without authority, how we affect others and how others have impacted us.

We watched a beautiful YouTube clip on Everyday leadership by Drew Dudley, wherein a small act of kindness gave someone (who was seconds away from quitting) courage to stay at university.

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5 September 2017 By Will Brodie

Elle Steele
Elle Steele

Little wonder Elle Steele is in demand as a speaker.

She aims to inspire.

Elle represented Australia at the 2000 Paralympics as a 16-year-old. When devastating injuries curtailed her swimming career, she became a national representative in wheelchair rugby. She’s overcome major surgeries and depression to achieve elite sporting success and run businesses.

But she’s about more than good stories.

Elle brings expertise in countering adversity.

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4 September 2017 By Maria Groner

Leaders and followers

At yesterdays’ Day 2 of Igniting Leadership, we were asked by the presenter to contribute, displayng leadership, through having a go at answering a question that she posed. As a reflector, I am not usually the first to share my insights or ideas – and Oenone’s prompt made me think: is a student in class who satisfies their teacher by giving a response to the teacher’s question a leader? Or are they rather a follower as they respond to a leader’s prompt?

The YouTube clip Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy that went viral around the world highlights the leadership contributions of the first follower. The first follower validates the leader’s ideas and sees their potential. The first follower takes on the important task of demonstrating that this leader is not just a ‘lone nut’. A first follower can also take the idea and develop it to a higher level, potentially adding to the benefits and the outcomes and inspiring further improvement.

At a LV Igniting Leadership session, we trust our leaders that they guide our learning, and (to an extent) we follow. At the same time, we take on a leadership role, not only leading ourselves and our own learning, but also contributing to the learning of our fellow learners (and our presenters). As leaders, we will always be followers as well, seeing the potential of and supporting an idea presented by other leaders around us. And in following, we demonstrate our leadership.

Maria Groner, Travellers Aid Australia

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31 August 2017 By Thomas Burgess

Day 1 of the Igniting Leadership course was a fantastic opportunity to hear from a range of leaders with a variety of backgrounds and careers. We heard about different styles of leading groups and how peoples' personal experiences molded how they lead.

It was the personal experiences in particular that struck a chord, and it was tremendously inspirational to hear about the different challenges faced by our morning speakers. It was also notable that key themes of leadership emerged similarly despite the different backgrounds of the speakers, with the first speaker bridging the gap between Australians of different faiths via strategic policy advice across government and the community sector, and the second representing Australia at the highest levels of athletic achievement.

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31 August 2017 By Arnav Chug

Ethical Leadership

The purpose of the program today was to consider ethical dimensions, have insight into our own practice and encourage others.

As a group, we considered the importance of being in a productive zone of disequilibrium to help elicit change. If an organisation and its members feel too safe or overwhelmed, change is unlikely. We learnt that influence, vision and ethics interplay to help with leadership whilst also gaining insight into how each individual’s ethical framework is different.

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31 August 2017 By Will Brodie


“Leadership is the art of the possible and leaders with disability embody that.”

When Llewellyn Prain says this, it’s worth listening. The Williamson participant has excelled in the law, her own writing and editing business, and as a company director.

...and she lost her sight in 2014.

Llewellyn says she is “still in transition, still adjusting” to being vision impaired. 

“There’s such a huge amount of misunderstanding around disability in our community. I grew up with vision-impaired sisters and a vision-impaired mum but I didn’t really understand disability until I had one… so I think the more people we have with disabilities in leadership the better.”

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17 August 2017 By Will Brodie

Image credit: UniMelb. Amanda Sinclair
Image credit: UniMelb. Amanda Sinclair

As a leadership expert, Amanda Sinclair is a triple threat. A respected academic, she is also an author and a teacher. 

When writing for academic publication, she aims to be “interesting, relevant and engaging” to leaders.

To reach general readers, she has written many books, including her latest, Women Leading, with former Victorian Police Commissioner Christine Nixon.

When teaching, she aims to engage her students, not to lecture at them.  

So which of the three disciplines has the greatest impact?

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