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DRIVE leadership: For one and for all

You might believe that demonstrating leadership behaviours is the sole responsibility of those at the top—the executive and senior managers in charge of leading. But is this the case?

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has this year released the Secretaries’ Charter of Leadership Behaviours around the concept of DRIVE.  The Charter clearly sets out the behaviours Secretaries and Senior Executive Services are responsible for driving. Interestingly, however, the APSC also recommends that employees at all levels get involved.

This expert article explores what DRIVE stands for. It also explores how employees below senior levels can benefit from thinking about and implementing these (and other) leadership behaviours.

What does DRIVE stand for?

DRIVE stands for:

  • dynamic
  • respectful
  • integrity
  • value
  • empower.

This diagram details what each leadership behaviour means.

Secretaries Charter of Leadership Behaviours (1)

Why DRIVE is good for all levels of an organisation

1. Common sense

In many ways, DRIVE behaviours are common sense. It’s easy to see how they’re aspirational for everyone in an organisation. For example, it’s valuable for you to:

  • lead by not walking past problems, but rather being part of the solution (dynamic)
  • treat people with decency and respect (respectful)
  • be open, honest and accountable (integrity)
  • be an active listener (value)
  • build capability and networks (empower)?

If you’re just entering the workforce, take time to assess how you can build these leadership behaviours into the way you operate. Think about how you can leverage DRIVE behaviours to improve and even progress your career.

Leadership, in other words, is highly desirable from the bottom to the top of an organisation (public, private and not-for-profit). It’s a major skill employers tell us as recruiters they find attractive in candidates, across all levels and in all sectors.

2. Rewarding

Exercising DRIVE leadership behaviours is rewarding, professionally and personally.

Using them as a guide can be enriching and beneficial for your growth. And growth can make your time at work inspiring and motivating.

For example, isn’t it rewarding for you to:

  • enjoy your work and have a positive attitude (dynamic)
  • embrace diversity and actively seek out views and perspectives that challenge your own (respectful)
  • have the courage to call out unacceptable behaviour (integrity)
  • build relationships (value)
  • trust, empower and grow others (empower)?

3. Career beneficial

Managers value all employees who demonstrate, or have the desire to learn, leadership skills.

Yes, executive and senior management may have these formally built into their performance expectations and you don’t. But you can still learn about and apply these essential skills. Doing so might put you in a more advantageous position.  You might find, for example, that management assigns you more challenging tasks or recommends you for promotion.

Also consider highlighting your leadership capabilities on your LinkedIn profile and in your resume to support your ability to advance.

Of course, your role and/or position may not give you scope to exercise every DRIVE skill, but you can still learn about ‘the lot’ and seek opportunities to become a better leader in all that you do.

4. Connection with APS Values and Code of Conduct

The Secretaries’ Charter of Leadership Behaviours focuses on modern systems leadership within the context of the APS Values and Code of Conduct, so make sure you’re across these, especially if you’re in the private sector and keen on transferring to the public sector.

Learn more about this important requirement through other f2f expert articles:

Jobseekers: APS Values and Code of Conduct

Do you want a dream job in the APS?

Private to public: transfer your skills

Want to learn more about leadership skills?

How to climb the career ladder

Seven ways to upskill for the future

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