Melbourne Business School Events and Information Sessions 2021 Sir Donald Hibberd Lecture: Lessons for Leaders from Lockdown

2021 Sir Donald Hibberd Lecture: Lessons for Leaders from Lockdown

Tuesday, 10 August 2021
5.30 PM - 6.30 PM

The Sir Donald Hibberd Lectureship was established in honour of the Sir Donald Hibberd, one of Australia’s great nation builders. Sir Donald Hibberd held influential positions in the public service and contributed greatly to the success of the aluminium industry in Australia. He was a member of the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia and the council of the University of Melbourne.

The Lectureship was established by the late Lady Florence Hibberd with support from the University of Melbourne and Comalco, in memory of her husband. Each year the Lectureship brings an esteemed academic who is distinguished in their field to Melbourne Business School. Melbourne Business School is honoured to host these local and international experts who continue the legacy of Sir Donald Hibberd and Lady Florence Hibberd in building our next generation of leaders.


From the event

Do traditional leadership models cut it in a post pandemic environment?

In the 2021 Sir Donald Hibberd Lecture, Professor Amanda Sinclair reflects on how the last 18 months has changed the landscape of leadership, encouraging us to re-imagine the future of work, education and workplaces. She argues that the leadership task has changed and we need to look in new places for inspiring models of leading. Openness and humility - and an appetite for learning and listening - are the keys to enabling organisations, communities and societies to continue to thrive, despite the uncertainties of our rapidly changing world.

Your questions answered

The weight of leadership in this global pandemic is resting largely on the shoulder of the Political and Governmental leaders. Should private sector Leaders step more up to the forefront in these times?

Yes! And some are doing this. Corporate and business leaders have a great deal of power - more than governments in many cases. This power can – and should – be used to address big challenges like tackling climate change.

Professor Amanda Sinclair, Melbourne Business School

Onsite workers are feeling left out. How would you coach leaders who have a mix of workers who can work digitally (i.e. WFH) vs those that must work onsite (i.e. factory, construction/ maintenance workers)?

This is such an important question. We must avoid creating hierarchies and divisions between those who have to be on-site and those who don’t. We also know that ‘hybrid’ solutions where some team members are on-site and others remote are the most difficult to manage. The solution is not to bring everyone on-site just because some need to be. Rather it is building bridges between parts of the organisation, ensuring that both F2F and on-line workers are appropriately valued, understand the constraints and the clear rationales why some are on-site and others WFH. New opportunities should be created which enable jobs to be done through a mix of on-site and remote.

Professor Amanda Sinclair, Melbourne Business School

In pandemic situations, leaders around the world have to make tough choice between continuity of operations and people's well-being and safety. When it comes to survival of operations vs doing good, how can leaders ensure they are making right choice?

They connect with the overarching history, purpose, and values of the organisation. They listen to peers and trusted stakeholders outside the organisation, they listen to their gut and intuition. They should collaboratively explore alternative futures identifying the legacy sought for the organisation.

Professor Amanda Sinclair, Melbourne Business School

Every night on the news we see a national leader who has lost his (or her) path and is losing support. If s/he were more authentic, would we cut them more slack?

It’s likely that we would be more forgiving if we perceive there is genuine regret, transparency and a commitment to learn. Leaders who act like they’ve never made missteps and that ‘there’s nothing to see here’ are rarely inspiring, rather invite cynicism.

Professor Amanda Sinclair, Melbourne Business School

How do you balance modelling emotional regulation while at the same time showing your emotions?

Emotional regulation doesn’t mean suppressing or parking emotion. It means being aware of your emotions and not allowing them to hijack what happens. It means being tuned into the emotions of others and prepared to support people to say what they are feeling rather than to ‘get over it.’ The very process of allowing emotions in, often reduces their power over us and allows us to come up with good strategies for moving forward with - not in spite of - feelings. Jacinda Ardern after the Christchurch massacre provides us with a great example of expressing profound sorrow but regulating it to support the victims.

Professor Amanda Sinclair, Melbourne Business School

How should companies with sales goals tackle this? Commitments are made to the hierarchy, investors want results. Yet, it’s frequently difficult to manage the environment and achieving results is not always possible.

This is such a great question. There’s a difference between companies which set aggressive sales targets and those that take context into account. There’s no point making good sales people feel worthless because the world has changed. When the Australian Olympic Committee decided to not prescribe a certain number of golds, silvers and bronzes for Tokyo and instead help athletes work towards Personal Bests – great performances happened. The research supports we are at our best when we are not stressed or pressured by arbitrary goals or other people’s expectations. The best way to foster performance is collaboratively create targets that make sense to the people who are delivering on them.

Professor Amanda Sinclair, Melbourne Business School

About our speakers

Amanda Sinclair


Amanda is a widely published author, recognised in academic and corporate circles as a pioneer in diversity and women in leadership and explorer of the application of mindfulness in leadership. Her research has been published in leading journals, including the Journal of Spirituality, Leadership and Management, Leadership, Organization, Gender, Work and Organisation and more. Amanda currently teaches Leadership and Change on the MBA and Executive MBA programs and our executive education programs.


After almost 20 years as a professor at the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Business School, Ian became a public figure as the chairman of the federal government's Competition Policy Review (Harper Review) and currently serves on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Ian has also been a partner at Deloitte, an Advisory Board member at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (Australia), and as of May 2018, returned to lead Melbourne Business School as its sixth Dean.

Professor Caron Beaton-Wells


Caron Beaton-Wells was appointed Deputy Dean of the Melbourne Business School in 2020. She was previously a Professor in Competition Law at the Melbourne Law School (2002-2020), where she held the positions as Associate Dean (Melbourne Law Masters) and Associate Dean (Undergraduate).

Full bio