Richard Barrett discusses in his book ‘The New Leadership Paradigm’ that it takes new characteristics for the 21st century societal leader. They must
· Have the courage to be different – have conviction, freedom from fear and question assumptions;
· Nurture their followers – acknowledge the courage of the first follower and lead from behind rather than the front;
· Be a global citizen – identify with humanity and see past the self-interest of local constituents and lobbyist;
· Be a self-actualised individual – become accomplished in leading the self and have a deep and passionate desire to fulfil their destiny;
· Operate with a self-transforming mind – be clear where they stand, leave room for self-doubt, look at ideas from others as well as self, stay curious and open to learning and seek feedback.
An idealistic view this may be. But our society is evolving to a society driven by human well-being (a Green society) rather than economic development (Orange society - D.Beck, Spiral Dynamics) And our society is demanding this kind of societal leader and a new culture more and more as shown by the recent public approval of the new Disability Care Insurance.
Just as leadership drives culture, structures and systems restrict it. Our political leaders face a multitude of barriers within the federal system and the political system.
The Constitution, almost since its inception, has influenced the interactions between Federal and State Government and therefore between political parties in ‘power’ at either level. There is general understanding that our federal system does not work as well as it should. And yet, there is a paralysis for action since at least 2006.
"Governments love lecturing us on how we should embrace change - yet they’ve barely changed since Victoria’s reign. Federalism is a 100 year old structure. It’s like a 100 year old house where the wiring hasn’t been redone, with a copper, not a Fisher & Paykel, in the laundry, and an earth closet out the back. The fabric’s sound – but, boy, could the place be made more liveable. More efficient. That’s our federation."
The barriers in our current political system are just as significant. They are founded in a time when human society was focused on ‘Blue’ traditions, right and wrong, authority and rules. But our society has moved on and our political system is stuck in the past of:
· ‘Red’ power rather than ‘Yellow or Turquoise’ serving the people;
· ‘Red’ avoidance of responsibility rather than ‘Green’ resolving the issue;
· ‘Red’ two-party system rather than ‘Green’ having a clear choice;
· ‘Blue’ opposition rather than ‘Green’ collaboration for a National vision;
· ‘Blue’ parliamentary question time rather than ‘Green’ constructive debate on best long- term policy outcomes and implementation measures; and
· ‘Orange’ self-interest in polls rather than the ‘Yellow or Turquoise’ common
Our Nation is not immune to change. But in the current political climate, where is the societal leader with the courage to stand up and speak up for significant change.