What makes Kevin Rudd a successful leader? Essay Example

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What makes Kevin Rudd a successful leader?


Kevin Rudd took over the leadership of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party in 2007. During this period in time, the destiny of the Party was rising (Kefford, 2013). His ascent to the leadership of the labor party was associated with his well-known personality after appearing on the sunrise morning show since 2001 (Jackman, 2008). In the whole of 2007, the labour party enjoyed the leadership of Rudd and was always ahead in the polls despite the attempts by the government to challenge Labor on issues of indigenous affairs and climate change (Megalogenics, 2008). Kevin Rudd eventually became the 26th Prime Minister in Australia in November 24, 2007, a position he held until 2010 when he resigned as the leader of Labor Party and Prime Minister (Kefford, 2013). At the time when Rudd was voted in, the Labor Party acquired a 5.45% win, the largest ever since 1969 in Australia’s history (Jackman, 2008).

Rudd’s success in leadership is attributed to a number of factors. First, he understood well how his government was supposed to run (Kefford, 2013). This is one of the major characteristics of a great leader; being visionary. Considering the approach Kudd used in leadership, it is an indication that had a clear and exciting inspiration of how far he wanted to take his government and how much he wanted to achieve. He was guided by vision in all the decisions he made that affected policy and control of agenda. Although Kudd’s high level of autonomy was heavily criticized, this is how he managed to bring his cabinet on board (Stuart, 2010). Rudd became to be known as the most powerful Prime Minister in the history of Australia’s politics and had started to introduce a new perspective of governance in Australia (Taylor & Uren, 2010). He used micro-management approach to allow the Cabinet to interact with the Strategic Priorities and Budget Committee (SPBC) decisions (Marr, 2010). Although it was reported that Kudd was marginalizing Cabinet, most decisions made during his leadership involved Cabinet participation (Marr, 2010).

Kevin Rudd was good at relationship management as concern being sensitive to the emotions of others. He used his social skills to built rapport with a range a circle of people locally and internationally and was always able to build support and find a common ground for all (Richmond, Rollin, & Brown, 2004). Rudd used his leadership position to engage others leaders, more so from the international scene. He did this in the interests of Australia. For instance, he led Australia into the G20 nations and this helped increase trade opportunities for Australia (Stuart, 2010). His engaging personality was also witnessed when he tried to engage well with both political and business people from China, even though they became resentful due to Rudd’s firm position on human rights (Kefford, 2013).

Rudd was a leader with high level of humility (Marr, 2010). A part from being strong and decisive, Rudd was also humble and often sure of himself (Marr, 2010). As a leader, he was confident and aware of himself to the extent that he recognized the value of his Cabinet members without feeling threatened. He could admit being wrong on some issues and that he needed the input of other leaders in decision making (Stuart, 2010). For instance, it is proclaimed that Rudd was to the cause of centralization when he was the Prime Minister. Due to humility, he admitted having done mistakes which is not common among many leaders (Oakes, 2010). Thus, humility made Rudd successful in his leadership by allowing him to often acknowledge his mistakes.

Another aspect of Rudd’s leadership that made him successful is inclusiveness (Marr, 2010). During the 20/20 summit, Rudd welcomed the ideas from a number of Australians because he believed that citizens should be involved in matters that affect the country (Kefford, 2013). In most cases, citizens are not directly involved in the legislative process, but it happened in Rudd’s leadership. A part from being inclusive, Rudd used his intellectual capacity to leader successfully (Stuart, 2010). He is considered to be among the most educated Prime Minister in the history of Australian politics. However, this was not clearly understood by most people who worked with him, especially when he took firm positions (Stuart, 2010). Sometimes he could not tolerate people who did not follow his way, a familiar trait with intellectual personalities (Richmond, Rollin, & Brown, 2004).


Until when he resigned as the leader of Labor party and Australian Prime Minister, Rudd had demonstrated the qualities of a true leader. He was visionary, good in relationship management, engaging personality, humility, inclusive and intellectual. Despite there being some criticism in his leadership, he made a record of a strong personality not only as the leader of Labor party, but also as the Prime Minister.


Jackman, C. (2008). Inside Kevin07: The People, the Plan, the Prize, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Vic.

Kefford, G. (2013). The Presidentialisation of Australian Politics? Kevin Rudd’s Leadership of the Australian Labor Party. Australian Journal of Political Science, 48(2), 135-146.

Marr, D. (2010). Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd. [Quarterly Essay 38], Black Inc.

Megalogenis, G. (2008). The Longest Decade, Scribe Publications, Carlton North, Vic.

Oakes, L. (2010). ‘Time Labor Showed Some Guts’, The Courier Mail, Sep 11-12, 2010, p. 10.

Richmond, S. L., Rollin, P. F., & Brown, J. M. (2004). What makes a successful leader. People, 56(51), 47.

Stuart, N. (2010). Rudd’s Way: November 2007 — June 2010, Scribe Publications, Carlton North, Vic.

Taylor, L., & Uren, D. (2010). Shitstorm: Inside Labour’s Darkest Days, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Vic.