HMAS Kuttabul Leadership Series

Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), ABIS Sarah Ebsworth (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Kuttabul, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Kuttabul

Lieutenant Commander Wendy Lissing, with Leading Seaman Tyrone Munro reading a manual on the old Vista Simulator at the Combat System Maintenance School (CSMS) based at HMAS Kuttabul. (photo: ABIS Sarah Ebsworth)
Lieutenant Commander Wendy Lissing, with Leading Seaman Tyrone Munro reading a manual on the old Vista Simulator at the Combat System Maintenance School (CSMS) based at HMAS Kuttabul.

The head coach of the South Sydney Rabbitohs Michael Maguire will volunteer his time this week and speak about his leadership style at the inaugural HMAS Kuttabul Leadership Series.

The brain child of Lieutenant Commander Wendy Lissing, the Kuttabul Leadership series will be a new forum to inspire personnel and civilians working at the base on their leadership journey.

Lieutenant Commander Lissing says by drawing on community leaders experience, she hopes personnel will see new ways to think about challenges they may themselves face.

“In my view, you can never have too many ideas or experiences. While Defence has some wonderful leadership programs, gaining access to mentors can sometimes be difficult. This is one of the reasons I went to Kuttabul command with the idea of the leadership series.”

Approaching a sporting icon to be the inaugural speaker was no accident. Lieutenant Commander Lissing says she sees similarities between Defence and sports clubs.

“I see a lot of mutuality between what we in the defence force do and sporting organisations. Aside from the discipline and training, everyone in Defence is expected to display leadership qualities both in and out of work, in much the same way that football players are expected to be leaders on and off the field.

“I asked Michael Maguire to be the first speaker as he has put in place a strong leadership program at the Rabbitohs,” said Lieutenant Commander Lissing.

“Every single member of his team is expected to take a leadership role, both on and off the field. They are expected to look after each other and when things go wrong it’s expected that someone will step up and take responsibility.”

While Lieutenant Commander Lissing sees synergies between leadership approaches in sport and defence, it won’t only be sporting identities asked to speak during the Kuttabul Leadership Series.

“While there may be an emphasis on sport, I think we can gain a lot of value learning from a range of people’s experiences. I’m hoping we will be able to secure Warren Mundine as a presenter in 2014. He has had a particularly interesting journey as an indigenous leader - he was the former national president of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and he’s now working as Chairman of the Prime Minister’s new Indigenous Advisory Council,” said Lieutenant Commander Lissing.

Reflecting on her own leadership journey, Lieutenant Commander Lissing says she was inspired by one of Australia’s early Generals.

“My leadership journey started with General Monash and learning that he was the first General to put his people first. In World War I, soldiers were used as canon fodder, as the British hierarchy had a perception at the time, that they had an endless supply that they could sign up to fight. Monash though really valued life and put in place systems and resources to give his people a fighting chance. As a result he had a lot of success and this had a high impact on me,” said Lieutenant Commander Lissing.

“My hope is that by hosting the leadership series, that some of our young and upcoming members are inspired to take further steps down their own leadership path.”