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'Passion' key to being a successful leader

13 August 2015
There are no mystical ingredients to effective leadership, according to NSW Premier Mike Baird.

Leadership is about following a passion, having a belief in what you’re doing and understanding that people matter, explained NSW Premier Mike Baird at the latest BOSS Emerging Leaders event.

University of Sydney Business School Dean Greg Whitwell, NSW Premier Mike Baird and Boss Magazine editor Joanne Gray at the University of Sydney Business School's Emerging Leaders event in August 2015. 

“There are no mystical ingredients to effective leadership,” explained the Hon Mike Baird MP to an audience of aspiring leaders at the latest BOSS Emerging Leaders event in Sydney. “At its core, leadership is about following a passion, having a belief in what you’re doing and understanding that people matter.”

Speaking candidly from his own experiences and leadership journey, the Premier talked about a struggle early on in his career to find direction and discover how he could make a difference. “I believe passion is key to being truly successful,” he said, “so ask yourself tough questions, find out what you’re passionate about and harness it to do good for community, state and country.”

But having a passion is not enough, the Premier continued. He said if he could leave the audience with only one thing, it would be that leaders must remember that people matter. “As a general life principle, this is something I desperately try to cling to,” he said. “The connection to human experience is so important, and the moment you lose that, your effectiveness as a leader is lost.”

The Premier went on to identify further crucial insights for leaders today, including having a clarity of objective, developing a culture where performance matters and making sure you have the right people in your team.

“Often the best leaders at critical times don’t lead,” he said. “It goes back to understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing, and having a clear objective. Great leaders look for every opportunity to invest in talent. Sometimes, it’s about getting out of the way and supporting the best person for the situation, and having faith in them to get the job done.”

Finally, you must have perspective, said the Premier. “We can often be so consumed by career and success that life passes us by. As a discipline, find what will remind you of what is truly important and pursue it.”

During a Q&A with the audience, the Premier spoke about his hopes for NSW and opened up about some of the challenges he has faced during his own career to date. He encouraged his audience to reach beyond their own perceived limitations.

“Self-doubt will come, expect that,” he said. “Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, but if you don’t push yourself, you won’t know how far you can actually go,” he concluded.

You can read more about Premier Mike Baird’s leadership journey in the upcoming October 2015 edition of the University of Sydney Business School’s alumni magazine, Sydney Business Connect.

About the Emerging Leaders Program

The Emerging Leaders program is a leadership initiative launched by the Australian Financial Review BOSS Magazine and the University of Sydney Business School. It provides up and coming leaders with the opportunity to network and gain insights from Australia's foremost leadership experts. Membership is free and provides access to exclusive events and networking opportunities. Join here.

BOSS Emerging Leaders Scholarship

The Financial Review BOSS Magazine and the University of Sydney Business School are searching for Australia's emerging leaders. Applications are now open for a prize package that includes a $60,000 MBA scholarship to inspire and nurture the leaders of tomorrow. Find out more.

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