LEADERSHIP: What it is … what it is NOT! Part FIVE – Now What? Time for Change

Quote Pic. Jelly man on red tickPART FIVE – Now What? Time for change


THE PURPOSE:  To inspire others to …  


Note: This blog is PART FIVE and the final of the series entitled LEADERSHIP:  What it is … what it is NOT!  If you have not already done so, please read:

  •  PART ONE – The INTRO  - 4 blogs covering: The WHY,  The WHAT, The SO WHAT and The NOW WHAT 

For those who have not read the start of this blogs series … a little about the author:

Jilinda Lee … shares her knowledge, experiences, observations and learnings about what makes a great leader … with the genuine intent and purpose that others may also learn, become more aware, and be inspired to drive changes that LIFTS the levels of leadership in our communities.

WARNING:  In addition to some theory and facts; expect straight talk, challenges, and real life examples peppered with quirky humour and a good splash of WTF attitude …  

“Whenever one person stands up and says ‘Wait a minute, this is wrong’… it helps others to do the same”

So lets cut right to it  … Where are our Triple AAA leaders? … the ones with the right mix of:

Aptitude - knowledge, skills, visionary and entrepreneurial capability

Attitude - values, intent and purpose, awareness, behaviour

Actions - leading change, inspiring and enabling others

You know the ones … leaders who consistently demonstrate the 3 fundamental behaviours I’ve outlined in the previous blogs in this Leadership series … that of  BEING TRUSTWORTHYINSPIRING AND LEADING CHANGE … and BEING A ROLE MODEL. 

Yes of course, there are some great leaders out there.  Many of them are quiet achievers; humble and go about their business without making a fuss. Many of them are the ordinary people of the world who have no interest in being known as an important ‘somebody’.  Many of them have no interest in being politicians or CEOs of global organisations … to them, positional power is not what drives them. These are the very people we need to identify, encourage to step up into representative roles, or at the very least, encourage them to be mentors to others who aspire to leadership roles.

DISC_dudesThroughout this series I’ve introduced you to some interesting, all-to-common characters … EENIE, MEENIE, MOLLY & MO.  Although fictional, they are made up from a combination of real life examples, from personal experiences and observations.  Yes, it adds some fun and quirkiness … you may laugh at these little guys … you may point your finger at others who ‘fit the profile’ … and I hope that you have also gained some reality checks through being more aware of what to watch for, what to do, and what not to do.

Remember this well-known quote:  …

“The definition of insanity is … doing the same thing again and again … and expecting a different result”

My not-so-subtle message to you … yes YOU, through the stories in this leadership blog series, is :

Stop putting your head in the sand and hope things will change  … eventually … by osmosis?  … by natural attrition?  NO PURPOSEFUL CHANGE HAPPENS THAT WAY!

Come on guys … be REAL.  You are voting for these people … these so-called leaders … supporting these people in public funded positions … promoting these people within your organisations … accepting mediocre and sometimes unethical standards … WHY? If you and I don’t step up and call the bad behaviour … if we don’t encourage, develop and support people to be REAL leaders of tomorrow … then we will continue to get the monkeys, foxes, jackasses, cockatoos,  and their flees that encourage itchy and scratchy behaviour.  Nothing will change.

Harsh words … maybe.  I make no apology for being a straight shooter and telling it like it is. WHY? … Because every one [yes EVERY ONE] of my Leadership Development coaching clients know we need better leadership models … emotionally intelligent, role model leadership mentors … that is why they are searching outside-the-box for their own development.  In many cases, they don’t want to be like ‘what they see’ … they want to be different, better … be the change in their organisations, community and sometimes family.  That’s why I’m passionate about this … It is an awesome privilege and absolute responsibility to help them make a difference … to BE the difference.

For me … no change to the current status quo of leadership capability and behaviour in Australia and in our local communities … is not acceptable.  We need to say NO to poor leadership examples NOW.

Earlier in this series … I introduced you to the character MEENIE.  She didn’t feature in my last three blogs … for good reason. This character doesn’t demonstrate any of the 3 fundamental leadership behaviours I wrote about and her leadership performance review should look like this:

Trustworthy?  = X     ….   Leading inspirational change? = X    …    A role model? = X

You might say ‘nor did the other 3‘  … very observant! Yes, they all had areas they needed to improve in and for some it would be an uphill battle … especially to gain the trust of the people they lead. However, out of all FOUR characters, I’ve deliberately left discussing MEENIE at length, until last … WHY?


I believe MEENIE’s behaviour is the most destructive all round.  It potentially has the greatest negative impact on REAL leadership growth in the very area we urgently need to be growing more roles models in, more mentors and encouraging more participation … WOMEN in LEADERSHIP.

In my intro blog, I summarized MEENIE’s behaviour and drivers as one who must dominate and control, is self-survival driven, needs to conquer,  and craves significance and certainty.  Typical behaviours observed are:

  • Big-noting / Self-promoting – positional posturing to hide less than expected skill levels and abilities
  • Questionable appointment of position – not by open meritorious process [more about pulling strings and back scratching]
  • Dishonestly claims credit for other’s ideas and work [craving significance]
  • Divide and conquer behaviour – a survival mechanism to destroy any threats to her power
  • Self-centered to a narcissistic level [demonstrated by disruptive, toxic behaviour]
  • Controlling and manipulating others to get desired outcomes
  • Bullying tactics,  belittling others to make herself feel stronger, more powerful

Ahh … do you know this woman too? Sadly, this is not portraying A woman … it is portraying the behaviours of more than 5 women [and a couple of men] in high-level leadership positions that I observed over the past 12 years, while working in state government management roles, and observing local government and community funded representative roles.  In fact, in the early stages of this time period, I was trying to lead change … having been deliberately recruited ‘from the outside’ to bring a different approach into this arena … and having completed my Masters in Management – focusing on people development and Leadership disciplines … working in and around these women, I clearly experienced some questioning WTF moments!

More than that … after 10 years working within state government, the last 5 in a regional management role [with many head-banging-wall days], I resigned several years ago.  One major factor in my decision to do so was that there was not ONE position, or ONE person that I aspired to be like in that arena. Neither male nor female … Not ONE!

Sure, as a Life / Leadership Coach, I know that I don’t have to be like ‘the others’ … that I can BE the point of difference … that I can walk to the beat of my own drum … that I could have stood up [more often than I did] and questioned the entrenched and widely accepted behaviours.  Frankly, that’s probably why I survived that culture as long as I did … however, I came to the realisation that I could make a bigger difference in driving change from outside of this cage.  Think about it … do you really think I could have written this blog series if I was still a Regional Manager for state government department? Ha ha … might have gotten more media publicity!

The point I’m making is this:  Many women are reluctant to put their hand up for leadership roles. I know some very capable and qualified women who have decided that either the fight to get there and having to prove themselves to be:  ’as good as a man’, is just not worth it … or, they have taken a close look at the behaviours of those at the top and what goes on in management ranks and backed right off … [yes, some men do this too, of course].  Generally, this is not a decision they have made from an isolated incident … mostly they haven’t been given encouragement to aspire to leadership along the way … in fact, quite often, the reverse – they are actively discouraged.

Many women can’t identify with the ‘women in leadership’ models that seem to advocate a life of back-scratching or back-stabbing, clawing-to-the-top, must ‘ look, think, and act like a man‘ to be accepted … version of women with leadership ambition. I call them ‘manettes’. This is one CORE thing that needs to change … Leadership means being manly?= X  … Stop being ‘such a girl’?= X

Since when did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?

Another interesting factor about the MEENIE character is that she generally gets on well with the men … using her manipulative ways to ensure she keeps in the good books with her backers [predominately male boards or male colleagues] … you could say there is plenty of male skin under those fingernails [plenty of itchy and scratchy behaviour].  However, she actively bullies other strong women who potentially could question her tactics, ethics, or intent … to MEENIE, you are either subservient or ‘surplus to requirements’.  In fact, I observed several MEENIE’s actively recruiting males for roles directly under their level [the easier, safer option].

MEENIE doesn’t like competition or questioning … her divide and conquer emotionally charged behaviour comes to the fore when she feels under threat.  What I find fascinating and equally frustrating, is that the male leaders around her are willing to put up with her controlling and manipulative behaviour … it is like the men more readily accept low levels of emotional intelligence, thereby either cementing the labels of ‘the weaker sex’ or ‘drama queen’ … OR … perhaps having to ‘deal with it’ would be scary shit! [=avoidance is easier]. Women tend to quickly lose all respect for the MEENIEs of the world and distance themselves or walk away [leave the organisation].  Women seem to expect more emotionally mature behaviour than school yard bullying from other women in leadership roles … [yes, I'm generalising - not ALL men and not ALL women respond in this way, but it is a wide-spread, common observation].

Girls compete with each other … women empower one another.

SO … this needs to change … NOW.

I’m not saying women should take over the world or every boardroom … I’m saying women should be EQUALLY encouraged to be ambitious, and to aspire to leadership positions … from both male and female GOOD role model leaders. They should NOT be encouraged to toughen up or be more ‘manly’ … or behave like MEENIE, the bully … they should be mentored to develop their natural,  intuitive emotional awareness into high levels of emotional intelligence … and lead as a women [yes, in a skirt and heels].

We need women who are curious … who keep asking ‘why’ … who genuinely want to see CHANGE and are determined to help drive that. We need equality in the boardroom, in our workplaces, in our community and in our homes … and we need champions for these women.

Champions like Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.  If you have not seen it, watch her incredible TEDTalk on ‘Why we have too few women leaders’, and read her book – ‘LEAN IN – Women, Work and The Will to Lead’.  One of her well known quotes is:

“I believe that if MORE WOMEN lean in, we can change the power structure of our world and expand opportunities FOR ALL” … SS. 

I am a strong advocate for the LEAN IN global movement and passionate about encouraging women to step up, stand out, and speak up … and aspire to lead change.  Check out, like and follow my Facebook page  - ELEVATE HER – Leading Ladies LEAN IN Table forum.   I am currently developing a series of ELEVATE HER workshops around building STRENGTH, SOUL and SASSY STYLE.  Yes, I said ‘sassy’ … yes that is a girly term … yes it OK to be a confident and sassy, feminine leader.

We need more diversity of opinion, ideas and actions at the decision making tables … everywhere.

The world needs strong, visionary, genuine leaders; … men and women with skills, passion and drive; … who demonstrate leadership behaviours that come from the right intent and purpose, that is focused on enabling the growth of strong sustainable communities.

It’s definitely TIME FOR CHANGE!

In closing … I hope you have enjoyed this Leadership series of blogs … and more importantly, I hope you are more aware and have been challenged to make a difference.

If you would like to learn more about:

  • increasing your personal and professional leadership effectiveness
  • building your social and emotional intelligence levels
  • becoming more aware of your behaviours and the impact it has on others
  • understanding others behaviours and what drives them
  • how to be a Triple AAA leader …

ask us about our most popular product - Vital Signs Leadership Development package.

With intent, purpose and sincerity,

Jilinda Lee.









  1. Dianne Robinson says:

    Hi Jilinda,
    An interesting, educational, entertaining and articulate series of thought provoking articles. I concur with many of your conclusions re the lack of leadership in our local, state and federal government organisations and the need for change.

    I like your enthusiasm and style.


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