We recently moved our readers to a new system. You may need to reset your password here to login.
Not a member ? Join here for free.
Forgot your password?
Home Portfolio Administration & HR ‘I walk in with ten more facts than the minister, and I survive’
Text size :
PEOPLEJane Halton, Blair Comley
TAGS leadership, ANZSOG, Stakeholder engagement, ANZSOG conference
Ministers tend to see departmental heads as their principal advisers — but there’s a whole lot more to it than that, argued Finance’s Jane Halton and NSW DPC’s Blair Comley at the ANZSOG conference. Finding the right skills and leadership style is challenging, and ministers don’t always help.
Ministers don’t always appreciate the range of skill sets required to run a department and tend to choose secretaries based on how well they perform in ministerial briefings, agreed Blair Comley and Jane Halton at last week’s Australia and New Zealand School of Government conference.
Discussing the differences between two leadership styles termed ‘hero’ — the big leader — and ‘host’ — the facilitator and collaborator — head of the of the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet Blair Comley argued that “ministers like heroes”.
While the job of a departmental secretary consists of being “principal policy adviser, a manager of programs, a steward of the department and a steward of the public service … the reality is that greatest exposure of most ministers is seeing the secretary as the principal policy adviser.
“Most politicians are ‘people’ people and they think about trust in individuals and trust in relationships less than institutional trust,” he added.
Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.
The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne. He's previously written for The Guardian and Crikey and holds a masters in international relations.
Read Related Content
The University of Canberra's ANZSOG Institute for Governance will cease operating under that name today, joining forces in January with the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling.
Thank God Comley admitted that he can read (technically) – apparently he can add too! :)