Julia Gillard may have retained the Prime Ministership in this week’s leadership ballot, but business experts say women with leadership aspirations can take away some valuable lessons about what not to do when it comes to leading from the PM’s time in office.
According to business expert and Women Who Lead program member Margot Halbert, Gillard is the perfect example of what not to do when it comes to Australian women leading in the senior ranks of government and big business in Australia.
“While she’s managed to hold on to the top job we can still learn from the leadership challenge and how she’s handled her time as Prime Minister. In particular, we’ve learned about the importance of making time to manage key relationships as well as getting on with the job,” she said.
Halbert said Gillard has been too concerned with “getting on with good policy”, rather than letting her human side show and building a trusting relationship with the Australian public.
“She never built trust… We never felt like we knew Ms Gillard and there was always a question about whether she could be trusted, given the manner in which she came into the role,” she said.
“People want to feel like they know their leaders and can trust them,” she added.
Here’s some of the leadership lessons Halbert says women can learn from the PM:
- Prioritise time for key relationships:
Gillard suffered from thinking getting on with the job was enough. Leaders must make time to develop authentic relationships with their key customers, suppliers and employees.
- Be courageous enough to reveal the real you:
If those you are trying to influence the most don’t really know who you are as a person, you will never succeed. The ability to demonstrate your values, ethics and emotion can be a real asset.
- Authentic leadership is absolutely necessary:
The world’s best leaders are those we know will stand up for what they hold dear, regardless of opinion polls.
- As a woman it’s okay to be a feminine leader:
One of Gillard’s biggest downfalls has been that she’s displayed very little warmth and empathy and many have commented that she dresses and speaks in a masculine manner. There is great power in being feminine in a male dominated world.
- To be ultimately successful you must be true to yourself:
Many women try to be something that others want them to be. The greatest power comes being yourself.
According to Halbert, Gillard was applauded after her performance at a press conference last week when Kevin Rudd first resigned as Foreign Minister, “because it’s one of the first times she presented passionately and spoke with conviction.”
“She has clearly shown this side of herself to her own party where she has earned their trust and confidence. She hasn’t done the same with the Australian people, which was Mr Rudd’s strength,” she added.