Leadership is one of those concepts that is frequently discussed, but not exhibited often enough.
As a journalist who has covered business on and off for two decades I have written about leadership in various guises.
I've interviewed political, social, community and business leaders, and those who called themselves thought leaders on a particular topic.
And I've seen the leadership memes where the boss is barking orders at the team below, but the leader is down there in the trenches sharing the load.
Leadership expert Roselinde Torres has spoken with leaders around the world and studied the effectiveness of leadership development programs of 4000 companies.
Using this data Ms Torres found there were three major points to being a leader in the 21st century.
- Great leaders are not head down, they see around corners, shaping their future and not just reacting to it
- Great leaders understand that having a more diverse network is a source of pattern identification and also of solutions, because you have people who are thinking differently than you are
- Great leaders dare to be different. They don't just talk about risk taking, they actually do it.
When I spoke with Tasmanian Leaders general manager Angela Driver about leadership earlier this year, she told me: "Leadership is an act, not a position. It is changing reality for the greater good through the mobilisation of people".
This definition ties in with what Ms Torres has described as essential attributes for a leader today: someone who seeks different opinions, takes risks and plans for the future while also being flexible enough to change tack as needed.
As we start what is expected to be an intense federal election campaign, the question of whether great leadership is being exhibited will crop up time and time again.
My questions then are: do our federal politicians seek counsel so they are considering all options? Do they dare to be different? And are they shaping their - and our - future, or just reacting to those interest groups and stakeholders that shout the loudest, or are guaranteed to win them votes?
I'll leave those questions for you to think about, as I am, but also want to finish with something Glenview Community Services chief executive Lucy O'Flaherty told me that resonated strongly: "...a leader without a team is just someone going for a walk. Unless you can bring people with you, you're on your own".
- Johanna Baker-Dowdell is a senior journalist at The Examiner.