Sunday, March 20, 2011

Indigenous Australia needs more followers not leaders

Madeleine Madden has been named 2011 National Youth Week Ambassador following her 24th October 2010 inspirational ‘Address to the Nation’.

Maddy called on all Australians to help end the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous key indicators of Health, Education and Employment and join in a national conversation.

 Maddy with Generation One CEO Tim Gartrell

Ambassador is a title of much prestige and of great honour and is not a position I envy. It is tough to stand out. It is tough to be in the spotlight and speak on behalf of such a large and diverse country as Australia. And it is tougher to speak on behalf of one of the most disadvantaged peoples in the world when you have been gifted a very different life.

Throughout my life I have been placed into positions of leadership and I have watched others with equally varying success. We have been subjected to the aussie tall-poppy syndrome; ridiculed, discouraged and shouted down by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

I don’t believe that Australia has a problem with leaders as we have always had our share of those willing to stand up for what they believe. We have a problem of joining in, of following - well unless it involves alcohol, sport or gambling but I digress.

The ability to follow is where leadership is really shown. To join the lone nut and risk being ridiculed yourself by joining the conversation on the tough issues and encouraging others to join you.

This idea comes from a great 3 min speech on TED website for Ideas Worth Spreading by Derek Silvers. He states that to create a movement is not about the first lone nut but ‘the first followers are the underestimated leaders that turn a lone nut into a leader and into a movement.’

How awesome would it be if this was the generation to demonstrate true leadership?

How fantastic if this was the generation that the true leaders of change supported and encouraged others to join?

So whilst I don’t envy Maddy in her upcoming role, I will 100% support her and this amazing opportunity. You can support Maddy and help end disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by joining

I challenge you to join up and get 10 of your friends and family to join by the end of the month. TOGETHER we can  make a difference in this GENERATION.

And the next time you see others knocking our Indigenous Leaders, be different and show leadership by searching for what they are doing for positive change and encouraging others to see it also. Because Indigenous Australia needs more followers to demonstrate leadership


  1. Yes, I agree. We're all happy to let people stand up and be targets, not so willing to stand up beside them.

  2. Agree - it takes courage to be the first follower, to commit to an idea before anyone else does.

  3. Behind every great leader are followers? :)

    Nice one Don. Makes complete sense.