Julia Gillard leadership Essay Example

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Julia Gillard was Australia’s 27th primeminsiter and she was the first woman to assume such a high leadership role in Australia. Gillard was born in Wales in 1961 before her family migrated into Australia in 1966 after which she became an Australian citizen in 1974. Her leadership traits started manifesting in her early age when she was elected president of the Australian Union of Students in 1983. After her studies, she worked as a solicitor in Melbourne with the law firm Slater and Gordon becoming a partner in 1990 where she focused on securing fairer treatment for workers. She first contested for a federal seat of Lolor for Australian labor party in 1998 and was elected. She served as the MP for the 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007 terms. She has also held various portfolios in the Australian government including minister for various ministries including education, employment and workplace relations, minister for social inclusion, deputy prime minister and finally the first female prime minister in Australia before quitting politics. Julian is of interest to me as a leader owing to the fact that she has been able to demonstrate her leadership skills throughout her life becoming the first female prime minister in Australia despite politics being male dominated. She also interests me for her leadership traits including being calm, polite and being rarely irritated even when things seems to be tough. In fact, she has been described as having a tough, steely personality in how she was able to confront the pressures of being the first female prime minister.

Literature review

A great deal of literature exists on leadership, leadership traits, teamwork, ethics, diversity and change. Ololube (2013) for instance sees leadership as the ability of an individual to influence others to achieve a common goal. This according to Jenkins (2013) calls for strong character and selfless devotion to the course. Many theories of leadership also exist that try to explain leadership and how leaders behave in certain circumstances. Such theories include the great man theory, the trait theory, contingency theories and situational theory among others. According to Charry (2012), the contingency theory postulates that no single leadership style is appropriate in all situations and that it will be contingent with the situation. On the other hand, situational theory postulates that a leader should choose the best course of action based on the situational conditions. Lamb on the other hand states that a leader should possess certain traits including enthusiasm, boldness, self-assurance, competitiveness and conscientiousness. According to Wolinski, a good leader ought to also be a good team player as organizations are almost entirely ran through teamwork. In addition, leaders ought to exhibit ethical leadership as a leader without integrity cannot be termed as a leader (Mulford, 2003). According to Hargreaves and Fink, a good leader is also able to deal with diversity since organizations do not exist in vacuums while being able to cope with change since organizations are evolving on a daily basis (2004). It should thus be concluded that a good leader ought to be all round being able to deal with different situations as they arise while keeping everyone focused to the ultimate goal.

Using the theories to analyze leaders

Julia can be described as possessing leadership traits since her young age in line with the greatman and traits theory as she is seen leading from the time she was in school as a president of the students union. It can be said that she applies many of the leadership theories studied in the module. For instance, she is also able to apply contingency and situational leadership theories successfully especially when faced with difficult political decisions. This was seen in her courage to ask for a leadership vote when her credibility as a leader faced so many questions. Even when she wins with a minority, she is able to form government by working with other minor parties to ensure that she runs the government in line with the current situation. She can also be hailed for being a team player as is seen in her ability to work with various leaders both in the opposition and in the government especially under Rudd to ensure the success of her party. Her ethical standing can also not be questioned since it is through her integrity that she gets the mandate of the people as she goes up the ladder until she becomes the prime minister. Being able to work with various people up the ladder shows her ability to cope with diversity. However, her ability to cope with change can be questioned as she quits politics after she is defeated in an election instead of holding on.


This essay has looked at Julia Gillard as a leader. There are many character traits that depict her as a leader that are worth noting. Julia is calm, polite and rarely irritated even when faced with difficult situations especially politically. These have been part of her character since her early age in that she is always herself and is not that easily pushed or pulled by others views. She has a tough personality that enabled her confront the pressures of being Australia’s first female prime minister. She was able to endure constant disapproval of many political issues. Her top leadership traits include intelligent, hardworking and aggressive. However, to become a better leader, she needs to improve on her relations with people as she has been accused of being out of touch with ordinary people, being arrogant, superficial, erratic l and narrow minded. She also needs to improve on her honesty since she has been accused of doing things that she promised not to do during her campaigns such as introduction of carbon tax. She also needs to be a better team player since her defeat result from her poor working relationship with her labor party. If she can improve on the traits below, then she is able to become even a better leader.


Telegraph.co.uk, 2017, Julia Gillard: The good, the bad and the ugly, Retrieved on 22nd August 2017, from;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/10143734/J ulia-Gillard-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly.html

Essentialvision.com, 2017, Leader attributes- Julia Gillard, retrieved on 22nd August 2017, from;


heraldsun.com.au, 2017, Julia a true leader with deep strengths, retrieved on 22nd August 2017, from;

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/julia-a-true-leader-with-deep-strengths/news- story/0f94ce90fc192042a778fe07821baf63?sv=61d17006c827cd8808cf1d25cfaaf9ed