The Wheeler Centre
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Christine Nixon on the Nature of Leadership
Nixon compares what she argues are old and new models of leadership. She stresses that qualities such as independence, lateral thinking and openness to the needs of others are key to leadership in a progressive society, whilst noting the reluctance of some to depart from the comfort and security of militaristic, top-down command.
Looking at various phases of a person’s progression toward leadership, Nixon explains social processes that motivate and move individuals to begin acting as leaders. She proposes that Prime Minister Julia Gillard is exemplary of a new style of leader being judged on an outdated model.
Dismissing the media’s undermining “voice of ridicule”, she argues that Gillard is dealing with “an incredibly complex system where she is in a minority government, having to make sure that a whole range of other people are a part of it”. This ridicule, she says, is borne from fear. Rather than being weak for capitulating to the ideas of others, though, Nixon praises leaders like Gillard and Obama for their strengths in consensus governance.