My background

  • I have worked in 4 Commonwealth and 4 NSW departments over a span of more than 5 decades. I have seen the manager/leadership role evolve over that time – and the expectation of how staff can/should be treated evolve as well.
  • For the past almost 20 years I have worked in the NSW Public Sector as a grade 9/10, with a total of 4 weeks acting 11/12 (manager roles).
  • I have held 4 management or leadership roles in my public service career, 5 if my time as DEN Chair is included.
  • I have never aspired to be in a manger role long-term because I recognise that I am not temperamentally suited to management. I prefer to be operational where there is an opportunity to problem solve and innovate.
  • As a manager, I rate my performance as passable. On the other hand, I think I am a very good leader.
  • In various roles, I have worked with leaders in business, state and local government, and NGOs. – predominantly liaising to address service delivery issues or monitoring for compliance with licensing or contract requirements. Sometimes these relationships have been born in conflict, contention, and complaint. The calibre of leadership has always been highlighted.
  • I have participated in numerous training courses in management development and for managers. The most significant is the Associate Certificate of Applied Management 2011 – Aust Applied Management Colloquium.
  • Over more than 30 years I have read extensively in management, organisational change, organisational psychology, and leadership. 
  • My qualifications include Masters and Masters Honours degrees in Social Ecology. This is a discipline that takes an ‘ecological’ perspective on human organisation (among other things).
  • I have deep regard for management as a craft. I have been able to do extraordinary things because of outstanding, great and good leaders. But I also know poor management and terrible leadership.
  • Working to a good to great leader is what I wish upon everybody who cannot be a good to great leader. It should be a right of all employees to be competently and compassionately led.
  • Ultimately, addressing the issues faced by staff with disability comes down the quality of management and leadership – as people with professional skills, psychological maturity and heart.

Michael Patterson

16 October 2021