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2017 Power Trip Reflection: “Leadership is not equal to authority”

Amy Astill, 2017 Power Trip winner from Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia

Amy’s Power Trip was proudly sponsored by AgriFutures Australia

Leadership is so much more than authority, it’s about believing in your own abilities. Leadership is seeing things that you don’t agree with and trying to fix them. It is a uniting power that should allow every person within a group to feel equal, but somewhat guided.

On my Country to Canberra Power Trip, my mindset of leadership transitioned. I had always thought that to be a leader, you needed to have the highest-ranked role in your community; to be a leader meant to me that your opinion was one of the only ones that mattered. I was wrong to say the least.

Leadership is not dictated by a voice, and that’s what I learnt on the second day of the power trip (the day following hours and hours of travelling!) It was this day that I learnt how being a leader didn’t mean that you must have entitlement over a group; instead, it means being a part of that group and being a role model in any particular part of the journey. During the leadership development and public speaking workshops, I realised what values I have and how to apply them in order to get my point across, in the most efficient way possible. A panel discussion by the Australian National University (ANU) followed by a Rural and Remote Mental Health presentation enabled me to again think about leadership in another abstract perspective: this included the thoughts of whether or not students could be leaders in their studies, or even, if people with mental health issues could be leaders in their communities. The answer is always yes.

Day three of the trip was my time to use my new leadership skills while we met inspirational politicians and CEOs, toured Parliament House, viewed Question Time and attended the Powerful Women’s Breakfast, where I met with leaders including the 2017 AgriFutures NSW Rural Women’s Award Winner Sandra Ireson.

Something that really stuck with me was meeting Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, the then Minister for Women and Employment, Michaelia Cash, and my local Member for O’Connor, Rick Wilson MP, as each of these people encouraged leadership in such unique ways. I write about this because Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who presumably holds the ‘most important’ leadership position in Australia, isn’t a leader because of his role or position, he is a leader because he has opinions on political issues and advocates for them on behalf of the average Australian. This is what I learnt. Leadership is not equal to authority and that was made apparent to me on my Country to Canberra Power Trip.

Amy’s Power Trip was proudly sponsored by AgriFutures Australia

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