Business School Topics
Internationally renowned leadership author, consultant, researcher and academic Amanda Sinclair visited Perth in early May as the inaugural speaker for the Alcoa Visiting Professor Program at the UWA Business School and the Consortium for Diversity at Work.
Based at the Melbourne Business School as the Foundation Professor of Management (Diversity and Change), Prof Sinclair presented at a series of events including a sold out breakfast at the University Club discussing her latest book entitled ‘Leadership for the Disillusioned'. More than 200 people attended the public breakfast and were captivated by her humorous personal anecdotes and stories on leadership.
Prof Sinclair's work is widely published and her sometimes controversial conclusions have generated significant debate with her latest book content being no different. With the ever-increasing focus on today's business leaders, Sinclair explores how leaders can promote freedom and well-being and find joy and happiness in leading.
"The fundamental theme for the book came from an observation. It seemed that whenever leadership is typically mentioned it is in the context of leadership as a solution. Leadership is a great thing and we need more of it," Sinclair said.
According to Sinclair, leadership is usually anything but empowering, and that, new approaches were required to help leaders grow and develop. "Leadership actually enslaves and imprisons people. Leadership actions also enslave the leaders themselves with them often sacrificing their own well-being and family life," she said.
Sinclair argues that we need to re-think our purpose of leading. "We should be leading to liberate not enslave. It is based on the idea of consciously leading to support and grow new possibilities for others," she stated.
Sinclair explains that leaders need to take the time to connect with what they really want to do. "We need to help people to think about freeing themselves with leadership. If we help people come more into the present, their mind clears so they are more aware of what is happening in the present," she said.
She says in her book," A major challenge most leaders face is how to prevent being taken over by the demands of their work and driven by the wrong priorities. Many express a yearning to be able to lead in a deeper sense while not becoming burnt out from tasks of dubious value."
According to Sinclair, Mindful Leadership provides leaders with the opportunity to transform their leadership work. "It draws on the latest research in cognitive and medical sciences and applies that research to leadership," she says.
"Mindful leadership meets these challenges by exploring practices which enable us to reduce our self-centred reactivity, enhance our capacity to connect with those around us and act appropriately and skillfully as leaders and human beings," she adds.
"It means getting back in touch with the joy of working with people and teams, towards new purposes. It means leading with presence, connection and power," Sinclair said.
UWA Business School Dean, Ms Tracey Horton said Sinclair's visit is an example of the quality of speakers the Business School will attract on an ongoing basis.
"We will strive to bring internationally renowned speakers to Perth to discuss and debate important and relevant issues for WA business leaders," Horton said. "Without the support from Alcoa this program would not be possible."
The ‘Alcoa Visiting Professor' program aims to bring leading national and international academics to Western Australia.