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Guide to leadership

Leadership planning and succession, and management are critical for ensuring your business’s future. Without a strong leadership pipeline, you might find yourself short of leadership talent when you need it most, for example, when a senior manager steps down or retires. That’s why you want to give team members the opportunities and skills they need to advance. This article discusses how you can ensure your business has a healthy leadership pipeline. 

What you’ll find in this article

This article covers three topics:

  • What is leadership?
  • What skills do leaders need?
  • Leadership tips

Finally, it includes a ‘Takeaways’ section summarising the key concepts and suggestions.

What is leadership?

According to the Macquarie Dictionary, to lead is to “go before or show the way; to guide in direction, course, action, opinion, etc.” The key is that leaders are guides; leadership isn’t about giving orders. It’s about setting examples, demonstrating by action the behaviours you want to see.

Leadership is a multi-faceted task. Leaders have to create a good work culture and workplace environment. They should build relationships with their senior and junior colleagues, support their team and seek opportunities to learn and improve. 

Learning and improvement are fundamental to leadership. New generations, new technologies and new ideas constantly enter the workplace; leaders must stay current to remain effective. 

What skills do leaders need?

Some people are indeed ‘born leaders’. But it’s also true that people can learn to be leaders. And even ‘born leaders’ can benefit from training. Leadership is a skill, but fundamentally it’s about modelling behaviour and making decisions

To make good decisions, you need good information. Good information can come from data, such as costs and cashflows, incident reports and other sources. 

But it also comes from listening. Leaders should listen carefully to their colleagues and customers. The critical skill is hearing what they’re telling you, not what you think they’re telling you or what you’d like them to be telling you.

Similarly, empathy is another critical skill. Suppose a colleague or customer is angry, or happy, or frustrated. In that case, the ability to put yourself in their situation will help you understand why they’re feeling that way and how to respond appropriately.

Leadership tips

It takes time to become an effective leader, and there’s plenty of advice on how to do it. Here are five simple tips for any leader:

  1. Understand your role: including your tasks, responsibilities, deliverables and KPIs
  2. Know your team: their capabilities, what support they need, how you can assist them
  3. Set clear goals: for yourself and your team
  4. Be professional: you don’t need to be mates with everyone, but you do need to be courteous and respectful at all times
  5. Keep improving: never stop learning and look for a mentor and a support network to help you keep improving


  • Leadership is a skill
  • Listening and empathy are essential
  • Understand your role
  • Know your team
  • Set clear goals
  • Be professional
  • Keep improving


To learn more about leadership, visit the resources below.

Introduction to leadership (video)

Join NTI’s Janelle Greene, Martin Corry and Kelly McLuckie as they consider three critical questions about leadership: What is it? Can it be taught? What are the pitfalls? 

Learning is not just for the young or new (video) 

Karen Bow (Australian Logistics Council) and Kelly McLuckie (NTI) discuss professional development. The transport industry is constantly changing, and it’s vitally important for leaders to keep up – or they risk falling behind.

Top five tips for new (and emerging) leaders (article)

As a young leader in transport, Bethany Magill has had to learn fast. She shares her top five tips for establishing yourself as a leader with respect – for self and others – as the foundation.

Top five tips for becoming a leader (infographic) 

Leadership can be challenging – but it can also be rewarding. To help meet the challenges and experience the rewards, Bethany Magill shares her tips on being an effective and respected leader. 

What skills do I need to take my career to the next level? (infographic)

Satisfying careers sometimes happen by accident. But for most of us, a little planning goes a long way. This infographic includes a simple three-step plan for taking your career to the next level.



  1. This article has been developed as part of NTI’s The Business of Safety series with the aim of helping transport and logistics businesses become safer and more sustainable. The Business of Safety is funded by the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, supported by the Australian Government. Information in this document is a guide only. It does not take into account your personal or business circumstances. Whilst all due care has been taken, you must not rely on the information as an alternative to legal, legislated regulatory and compliance requirements associated with your business activities. NTI.M002.30.03122021


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