Dr Tami Roos on Australian Leadership! Humour is a Must!

by | Mar 29, 2017 | Blog, Leadership

Victor Perton: Tami, what are the unique qualities of leadership in Australia and by Australians?

I believe one of the unique qualities of leadership in Australia is an Australian’s sense of humour. Some may or may not view that as a quality of leadership, however, I believe if you are able to make people feel at ease and are able to find some ‘common ground’ through humour than that is when you can really begin to have a positive impact.

Breaking down barriers between people regardless of gender, race, age, socioeconomic background, religion, etc… is incredibly important as our focus should be on finding solutions and not focusing on problems. This is definitely one of Australia’s and Australians’ strengths in leadership.

Victor Perton: Tami, what are the qualities that Australians seek from their leaders?

Honesty is first and foremost with what Australians are looking for when they look at leaders in many different fields. Honesty lends itself then to being a person that is Trustworthy and has Integrity.

I believe those are the 3 most important characteristics that Australians seek to find in their leaders:


Victor Perton: Tami, what is your favourite story of a contemporary Australian leader?

My favourite story is David Bussau AO who was raised in an orphanage after being abandoned by his parents and who went on to create MicroFinancing for the poorest of peoples around the world. Initially, he was an entrepreneur who then gave it all away at 35 years of age to create enterprise solutions to poverty through Opportunity International. He is honest, humble, an amazing humanitarian and truly one of the greatest ‘social’ leaders in the 21st century in my opinion. I remember hearing him speak and he said he believed he was put on this planet to do something good for God and that is what he has been trying to do ever since. He called it is his ‘bank account’ with God and he was working towards credit. Very funny comment and once again I heard and saw how an Australians sense of humour endeared himself to those around him.

Victor Perton: Tami, what’s been important in developing your leadership journey?

This is going to come across quite biased I am sure but I would have to say that I have learned about leadership from having watched my husband, Paul Roos, over the past 28 years.

I have watched Paul develop into one of the most respected leaders in the AFL firstly as a player when he captained Fitzroy which then culminated to one of the games highest honours when he was named as captain of the Victorian State of Origin team. As a player, I remember people commenting that he was the ‘general’ on the field. Always trying to impart knowledge to the younger players and directing his teammates while on the field.

I later watched him develop into a very respected coach bringing the Sydney Swans to their first Premiership win in 72 years. What has always stood out for me though was Pauls wish to empower his players, an area that he felt needed developing within the AFL industry. I have watched this transformation first hand and know the respect with which his past players (Sydney Swans and Melbourne Demons), peers, media, etc…hold him in.

Paul allowed the players to set their own set of behaviours which they would be held accountable by, introduced new training standards that he had learned from visiting professional teams in the USA and lived by his infamous 25 points, his ‘ gospel’, which he wrote when he retired as a player after 17 years of playing. He wrote those points so that he would never forget what it was like to be a player and could refer back to those points as a coach.

Paul has always had an ‘open door’ policy with his players and staff and encouraged strong relationships. I believe Paul’s qualities as a leader are enhanced by his communication skills, calm demeanour (especially in a very stressful environment), and always putting family first. He has the ability to find balance off the field and strongly encourages meditation, visualisation, yoga and other modalities that he knows helps others sense of well being.