Why Lisa Alexander wants our next prime minister to be a netball player
More women in Australia and globally play netball than any other sport, and the coach of the Australian Diamonds says it’s more than just a game – it's a training ground for future leaders.
In Lisa Alexander’s experience, the tough world of international competition is the perfect environment for developing top leadership talent.
"As I've said to the Diamonds: 'I want a prime minister out of you one day.' I'm really hopeful that will happen," she says.
"I talk about it all the time. It's something I've always pushed to make sure the person and the netballer is looked after and helped to grow and contribute to society."
Lisa is passionate about the fairness and social-justice aspects of netball because "it's embedded in communities and continues to raise the leadership qualities of women and girls around the world".
Lisa recently completed Melbourne Business School's Leading for Strategic Success program, an experience that helped her lead her team into battle at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
"My job is all about communicating. It's an influence job," she says.
"The program has given me confidence to do that better and with more clarity and accuracy. Saying the right thing at the right time can really motivate someone to deliver a performance that is very special."
Giving honest feedback is a big part of Lisa’s job – a skill the program helped her develop.
"You don't want to hurt people's feelings, and that's part of the process of becoming a leader. There's always a line in the sand around how you are behaving toward the people you are caring for."
Lisa says she's lucky to work with extremely motivated athletes who always want to do better, which is why she enrolled in the Leading for Strategic Success program.
"As a leader of the Australian Diamonds, it was extremely important for me to show that I'm also prepared to continue learning and getting better at what I do," she says, adding that leading and supporting elite athletes well has impact beyond their sporting careers.
"They're not just great netballers, they're great people and role models who often start their own businesses or return to careers they studied at university once they retire."
With the Diamonds' dramatic Commonwealth Games loss to England still fresh in everyone’s mind, Lisa says a major lesson her athletes learn from high-performance competition is that success isn’t always a given.
"It’s important to learn that winning doesn’t always happen. It's not always a world of joy. There are times when people are in great need. That's where netball is a great source of comfort. It's a place for people to connect with the community, which is our strength as a sport."