Chapter 4: leadership strength

Chapter at a glance

The 2014 People Matter survey found improvements in the quality of communication between senior managers and employees from the previous survey.

NSW public sector executives consistently demonstrate the required capabilities with the majority rated as competent or above.

There is a clear gender gap at the highest levels of the public sector.

Agency planning for transition to the new executive structures of the Public Service is on track.

The NSW Government is committed to identifying, developing, attracting and retaining talent across the public sector.

In July 2014, NSW Premier Mike Baird reinforced this commitment by announcing a significant increase in investment in leadership capabilities over the next four years to ensure executives have the skills and experience required for their roles.

Global surveys show leadership in both the private and public sectors is perceived as an international priority. The behaviours of leaders in high-performing organisations are widely discussed. It is often observed that they:

  • communicate clear direction for the future of the organisation
  • provide strong and strategic leadership
  • encourage innovative thinking and new ideas
  • demonstrate clear values
  • spend time and effort managing people
  • foster a positive and productive work environment
  • value relationships with diverse stakeholders.

The latest research into leadership in NSW, detailed in this chapter, shows that public sector executives are generally capable of performing their roles to a high standard. It also shows there have been areas of improvement over the past two years that are moving the public sector's leaders closer to the ideal leadership qualities shown in other studies. However, challenges remain, especially in terms of communication, the ability to manage change and increasing the participation of women in senior roles.

While it is recognised that leadership is required at all levels of an organisation, for the purposes of this section, the focus is primarily on senior managers.

The Public Service Commission acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which our office stands.