How Kindness and Courage Transform Corporate Australia

Global consulting firm Korn Ferry released a research report with some interesting findings about corporate leadership in Australia. The research included almost 800 investors around the world, with 50 of them being here in Australia. The research showed that Australian investors hold the belief that not even 15% of our corporate leaders are capable of keeping up with the ever-changing world of business or helping their companies to do the same.

66% of those investors also said that leaders need to take more initiative to drive change in their companies. To be able to continuously move a corporate business forward and to keep pace with the changes they face, it’s necessary to be courageous so that you can stay agile and roll with the punches.

Korn Ferry also conducted an analysis of over 150,000 leaders globally, which found that the traditional style of leadership is lacking when it comes to dealing with the challenges and disruptions of today’s world. The changes in consumer behaviours, globalisation and technology show the need to hastily meet the demand for identifying and developing corporate leaders who can handle leading their people and organisations through the changing corporate landscape.

Korn Ferry’s former senior client partner Nick Avery (now APAC Head of HR, BlackRock) has said of the results that the current crop of corporate leaders are lacking the crucial quality of acceleration. Acceleration refers to how quickly a leader can organise their people and get them to put new ideas into place to deal with any roadblocks that occur.

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Avery has said in the past that many corporations here in Australia have not had the courage to seek out those leaders who do not embody the traditional leader stereotype. He also noted that leaders themselves have lacked the courage to push for change within their company. What we are seeing now is that it has become crucial for corporations to identify and encourage those with the potential to develop into the courageous leaders that’s corporate Australia needs.

There is also a need for this new generation of leaders to break free from the traditional boss and employee relationship and put more trust in their people through collaboration and encouraging them to use their specific skills. The workplace culture in many Australian corporations is bordering on toxic, and that’s where kindness comes into play. Diversity, equality, inclusivity and kindness are what is needed to reform corporate cultures across Australia and throughout the world.

Leaders who treat their teams like people, not just staff there to do their bidding are the ones who will continue to challenge and change the idea of traditional leadership. Showing kindness (and having the courage to break the mould by doing so) is what corporations need from their leaders to improve workplace cultures and raise employee satisfaction. This then has the follow-on effect of increasing productivity and greatly reducing staff turnover.

On the subject of turnover, it is a trend that corporate Australia needs to stem in order to create stability in their workforce. In the past 3 years, 67% of businesses had markedly increased turnover of staff. Industry analysts have said that they expect this trend to carry on unless more companies and leaders start showing kindness to their people. Showing staff that they are valued, that their work is appreciated and that their organisation cares about them as people is something that is easy to do when you are consciously practising kindness. Many employees are now seeking workplaces that offer a better balance between work and life. This is especially crucial to note for those in corporate Australia, where workloads and expectations are higher and therefore there is more pressure to focus on work above all else.

Whether you are a current leader or an aspiring leader in the corporate sector, it’s time to invest in yourself and grow your confidence. You need to have the courage to shake things up and change them for the better. You also need to start practising kindness in a more conscious way, if you aren’t already doing so. Doing nice things for your employees, no matter how small, shows how much you care about them and that they are valued by you and the organisation. Have the courage to do things differently and be a kinder leader – you’ll see performances improve, staff retention increases and contribute to the reinvention of your workplace’s culture into something far more positive.

About McDonald Inc.

Our Leadership Legacy

At McDonald Inc., we know that courageous leaders inspire courageous action. For more than 20 years our founder Sonia McDonald has been nurturing executives, businesses and leadership teams through leadership coaching and leadership programs.

We don’t just train your employees we transform them into courageous leaders. Whether you are looking to continue to develop your high performing leaders and teams or need help turning around a poor leadership culture, McDonald Inc. offers in-house programs and coaching.


To foster courageous leadership in organisations across the globe by training, mentoring and coaching emerging leaders, team leaders, managers and executives.


At McDonald Inc. we seek to foster courageous and kind leadership so that the people leave work smiling each day, in turn creating more prosperous and successful businesses.

Brand Values

McDonald Inc. develops the skills, confidence, and leadership of leaders at any point in their journey as well as facilitating cultural transformation. We benefit our clients by assisting them to have higher staff retention, improved performance through teamwork and an overall more profitable bottom line.