Reflections on leadership

A speech by Cathie Armour, Commissioner, Australian Securities and Investments Commission at the William Roberts Lawyers Leadership Seminar Series (Sydney, Australia) 30 May 2017


Thank you for inviting me here to talk to you about leadership. I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners’ ongoing connection to and custodianship of the lands on which we meet today, and to pay my respects to elders both past and present.

It’s an interesting time for us to talk about leadership, as we are living in a time of increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in each of our economic, technological and political contexts. But for me, and maybe for many of you, these changes also impact on my everyday experiences, our personal lives.

This kind of ambiguity can create anxiety and panic in some people. We have been raised in a context where we believe the world is predictable. We now need to work with a different mindset, where the important thing is not to focus on what is probable but what is possible.

This environment demands strong leadership of us. In an uncertain world, there is no script anymore, the answers are not inside a textbook or manual. We have to be bold and create our own path forward. I think that the job of a leader today might be best expressed as finding and communicating a pathway through this chaos.

What I wanted to talk to you about today is:

  • some core skills or qualities that I think are essential for a good leader
  • how these core skills have been important to me as a Commissioner at ASIC, and the personal approach I have taken.
Last updated: 30/03/2021 09:32