The Leadership Challenge - what do we look for?

Nic Crowther
Mon 18 Apr

It’s no surprise that one of the most-admired attributes for any leader are decisiveness and strength. There are plenty of ways to display these traits, but most people who work beneath the boss are looking for a clarity and conviction that will guide the team to deliver the aims of the business.



Perhaps that’s why today’s Fairfax-Ipsos poll has delivered such disappointing numbers for the Federal Government. After months of inaction on tax, and a cynical approach to dealing with a misbehaving Senate. It seems the voters are in active rebellion and prepared to punish Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his team.

So, how did it all go so wrong so quickly?

A new vision
On the night of Monday 15 September 2015, Mr Turnbull took to the lectern as the newly-minted PM. Some of his first words to the nation as leader were: “We need to have in this country, and we will have now, an economic vision, a leadership that explains the great challenges and opportunities that we face.”



The biggest problem for the Coalition is the fact this vision hasn’t really eventuated. The Prime Minister’s declaration of new leadership has been caught up in a bunch of buzz-words around innovation, while economic policy has been nothing short of a disaster. There has been an absolute failure to articulate anything close to a comprehensive vision in the months since the Treasurer’s curious National Press Club address.

It’s no wonder that voters who were excited by the arrival of Malcolm Turnbull as PM have begun to drift away. The clarity and strength they sought has not been delivered.

Looking elsewhere
Perhaps most surprising of all is the match-fitness of opposition leader, Bill Shorten. He’s lost weight, taken elocution lessons and dropped the ‘zingers’. All of a sudden he looks like someone who could be elected Prime Minister.



That was deemed and absolute impossibility six months ago. The Labor Party’s resurgence demonstrates just how badly Turnbull has managed government to date, but also highlights a key difference between to it and the opposition: We know what the ALP stands for.

The strategy to continually release policy well ahead of the election appears to be paying off. All of a sudden it is Bill Shorten who is looking strong and decisive.

And guess what? Voters respond well to this, and so do employees.



Keep it simple 
It’s certainly no surprise that displaying uncertainty is interpreted as weakness. This stands for business as much as it does for politics.

Be sure you know exactly what your business goals are, and clearly articulate these to your employees. Deliver that, and your staff will be much better placed to deliver everything else for you.