Australia’s first people have the clear potential to become highly effective corporate leaders.
With striking similarities between their cultural values and current business leadership practices, it’s apparent that this demographic represents an untapped resource whose insights could yield significant competitive advantages. There are five key reasons why.
1. Follow from the front
Unlike many collectivist cultures that see themselves as ‘part of the group’, Indigenous Australians see themselves as an ‘individual part of a group’. This mindset ensures group importance remains paramount while full self-identity is retained. This ability to lead as one but follow with the many is a defining characteristic of influential leaders.
2. Emotional connection to a purpose
The power of stories in business is a central topic in countless contemporary case studies and leadership keynotes. With the use of metaphor and imagery offering an easy-to-understand connection to mission or purpose, the act of storytelling itself also conveys crucial leadership vulnerability and emotion. A feature of Indigenous culture, this message-conveying ability has obvious potential for facilitating effective change and motivational leadership within a business context.
Commonly cited as a necessary entrepreneurial asset, opportunity-seeking tendencies are viewed as a key attribute of long-term successful leadership. Despite historical disadvantages and social, economic and cultural divides, these tendencies remain highly evident within many Indigenous Australians. This is particularly true among the younger population who understand the necessity of hardship.
Through a social and cultural emphasis on the importance of community and respect for group members both weak and strong, Indigenous Australians have built sound collaborative and team sensibilities. This inherent desire to ensure that everyone within a collective has a voice represents a hallmark of strong team leadership.
5 . Humility
A willingness to be part of a team and attribute successes to the people around them is a trait possessed by only the most successful leaders. Within Indigenous culture, similar humility draws its origins from deference to elders and life-long access to community role models who re-affirm the belief that improvement is always possible.
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Mahdi Beh, Rebecca Bradshaw, Stephanie Koutoulas, Lucia Robson and Samuel Mitchell – Current students of the Master of Management.