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New ANZSOG program to support Emerging Leaders in the public sector

20 September 2023

News and media


The fast pace of public sector change means that public servants are taking on responsibilities and challenges earlier in their careers than ever before. The expectations on government are increasing, as are the skills required from public servants. 

In this environment the ability to innovate, collaborate, and build and lead teams becomes vital for public servants at all levels.       

Recognising the changing needs of the public sector, the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) has developed a new course designed exclusively for emerging public sector leaders in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. 

The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is designed for public servants who are middle managers or operational managers (whether new or experienced) who wish to progress to more senior management or leadership roles. Participants will embark on a journey of personal and professional growth, building their capacity to become the next generation of visionary and effective leaders in the public sector. 

Led by experienced facilitators, Robbie Macpherson and Jill Charker, and with input from guest presenter former head of Aboriginal Affairs NSW, Jason Ardler, the course is made up of two online modules and a three-day in person module to be held in Sydney in November. This blended format is designed to specifically address public sector capability gaps and equip new managers with skills they need to progress their careers. 

This program offers practical insights and guidance to help public servants drive positive change in their organisations and communities.  

The ELP will encourage emerging leaders to think innovatively and give them strategic planning skills. It will also give them a knowledge base that spans different project areas and ways to improve their consultation, communication and ability to motivate their teams. 

The presenters will focus on the following outcomes for participants and their organisations. 

  • Enhanced Team Performance: focusing on fostering a sense of responsibility among emerging leaders for your own and your team’s outcomes. This heightened accountability will support improved team performance and higher levels of productivity. 
  • Improved Strategic Alignment: develop skills in strategic planning and aligning the work area’s objectives with agency goals, resulting in the ability to set clear and purposeful goals that contribute to the overall success of your organisation. 
  • Strengthening Innovation and Agility: thinking innovatively and generating new ideas and strategies, as well as being open to change. This adaptability and agility will enable your organisation to stay ahead in a dynamic and competitive environment. 
  • Cross-Functional Expertise: equipping emerging leaders with a broad knowledge base enabling them to better understand and address the challenges faced by different departments within their organisation. 
  • Effective Consultation: strengthening your relationships and improving communication within and outside the organisation, fostering a culture of continuous learning and development. 
  • Increased Employee Engagement: learning how to support team members’ growth and development. This investment in employee development will support increased job satisfaction, engagement, and a positive work environment. 
  • Organisational Resilience: understanding how to adapt to innovate, embrace change and respond effectively to challenges will help ensure the organisation’s sustainability and success over the long term. 

The ELP will also prepare participants for further ANZSOG programs, including Towards Strategic Leadership and the Executive Master of Public Administration. 

The ELP’s facilitators are Robbie Macpherson, Managing Director of Adaptable Leadership. He has over 20 years of designing and delivering innovative executive leadership development programs across all sectors in Australia and overseas. In recent years he has directed executive leadership programs for senior executives at the Australian Public Service Commission, the ATO, ACCC, and the Australian Institute for Police Management. He is also Program Director of SILA, a groundbreaking program for CEOs of Not-For-Profit across Australia. He has a long connection with ANZSOG as co-facilitator of the Towards Strategic Leadership Program and says that his teaching focuses on leadership as an activity and looks at the personal development required to be an effective leader. 

His co-facilitator is Dr Jill Charker, who holds a First Class Honours degree and a PhD from Griffith University. Jill is Associate Partner, McKinsey and Company. Prior to her current role, Jill was Deputy Secretary of the Integration Taskforce in the former Department of Education, Skills and Employment and the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Secretary at the former Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. Jill is an experienced senior leader who has worked at an executive level across public and private sectors. 

They are joined by Jason Ardler, a Yuin man with cultural and familial ties extending from the NSW South Coast, north to Laperouse. For over 20 years, Jason held senior executive roles in the NSW public and university sectors, including eight years as the Head of Aboriginal Affairs NSW, leading Government strategy and reform in Aboriginal economic participation, community governance, land rights, culture and heritage, community safety, environmental health and service accountability. Jason’s other roles have included Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Indigenous Strategy at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health; and Executive Director, Culture and Heritage in the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change. In 2020, he co-founded Thirriwirri, a consultancy firm that supports First Nations’ communities and their partners to build the confidence, capabilities and connections to work differently together and achieve tangible improvements in their lives. 

The Emerging Leaders Program begins on 31 October, and registrations are now open. For more information, email: programs_team@anzsog.edu.au. Alternatively, submit an expression of interest to be contacted by a member of the Programs team.