As part of our monthly segment, Our Community Leaders - Great Australian Leaders in Focus
which features the thoughts of some of Australia's great leaders,
this month we feature John Dalziel.
John Dalziel OAM
John Dalziel, now retired, was the Salvation Army's Communications
Director for 15 years, becoming a recognised face and voice because
of his links to the Salvos. Formerly a director and partner in Grey
Advertising, Mr Dalziel joined the Salvos in 1990, building relationships
with government, media, community groups and other church leaders
in tackling a wide variety of issues affecting marginalised families
and individuals. Mr Dalziel represented the Salvation Army on a
number of committees, including the Victorian Churches Gambling
Taskforce and the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS).
He was awarded the Salvation Army's highest international honour
for distinguished service - the Order of the Founder.
Our Community: Who do you
consider to be the three great leaders of our time? And why?
- Nelson Mandela. He showed over his lifetime a consistency of purpose
but a variety of methods to reach his goal of equality before the law.
When successful he showed compassion not revenge.
- General Eva Burrows. She showed that a single woman could lead The
Salvation Army, first in Australia and then worldwide, so successfully
her term was extended to the longest in living memory. She 'marched'
the Salvos into Russia as soon as the borders opened despite a lack
of funding and internal opposition. She led rather than administered
and rejuvenated the worldwide mission of the Salvos as a social and
religious force in the world.
- Richard Branson is an example of a man of vision who despite many
setbacks triumphed in a number of worldwide businesses. He is a leader
who brings creativity to every business he leads, yet relies heavily
on his staff to implement their plans and strategies.
Our Community: What are the three attributes
you would consider to be essential to a leader?
- The most important attribute is vision. A leader must understand the
big picture and clearly enunciate the way it can be realised in terms
that staff, clients and the world at large can identify with.
- A leader must be prepared to allow mistakes to be made in the pursuit
of the shared vision. Encourage expansionist activity rather than 'safe'
repetition of the 'known way'.
- Leadership also requires the development of staff to their full potential
and recognition of those who have reached a level of expertise they
are prepared to work at for the foreseeable future.
Our Community: What are the three greatest
barriers to new leaders emerging in Australia?
- An insular approach that does not recognise that we can develop in
Australia world best practice organisations.
- Our universities and schools are not teaching for personal development
but for educational standards only. We do not reward scholars and teachers
with resources and respect if they are concentrating on developing a
- The concentration on the accumulation of money as the key measure
of success. We should encourage the recognition of community inclusiveness
and involvement of the vulnerable in our organisations. This would reveal
a new type of leader in Australia.
Our Community: What advice would you give
to a potential leader to take them to the next stage?
- Discover what excites you and then find people who inspire you and
then lead an organisation that exceeds the best you have seen amongst
those you respect.
- Enjoy working, and if you don't, turn to something else.
- Talk to people who inspire you or read about them. Travel to where
they are to experience what makes them tick.
- Don't assume you know all the answers. Get a team of like-minded people
first as mentors then as partners.
- Celebrate success and learn from failure
Our Community: Nature/nurture - are leaders
born or bred?
Anyone can be a leader within their chosen field and that is based on a
combination of inheritance and environment factors.
Our Community: What do you consider to
be the three top leadership issues facing the nation?
- The growing gap between the haves and have-nots.
- The fear of terrorism.
- Lack of recognition of spiritual and social purpose as the prime motivators
Our Community: What insights have you gained
personally on your leadership journey?
Believe in yourself. Try hard to get others to come with you and when you
can't, make the decision and stick with it. The media are the quickest way
to change attitudes, politicians' views and achieve change of direction.
Our Community: Who have been your own leadership
mentors and how did they assist in developing your own leadership style?
The leaders I mentioned previously and many like them - from their biographies
and observation of their lives. My father and mother and peers who exhibited
leadership skills I aspired to.
Published December 2005