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First Leaders: What We Can Learn From First Nations Leadership with Andrew O’Keeffe

By May 8, 2023July 13th, 2023Podcasts

The majority of the leadership tools, theories and practices that we understand today have sprouted from the discipline of workplace management since the early 1900s. Sadly, First Nations leadership was blindly ignored due to the social settings at the time but there is incredible wisdom to be found in understanding leadership in First Nations.

My guest today is Andrew O’Keeffe, who has recently released his third fascinating book, First Leaders. Growing up in the outback mining town of Broken Hill, Australia, Andrew’s interest in the human side of workplaces goes back a long way. He started his career in the mining and manufacturing industries and later filled senior HR roles within large organisations including IBM.

For the last 15 years, Andrew has run his own consulting and leadership education business, Hardwired Humans, with a focus on helping organisations and individual leaders aligned their leadership practices with human instincts.

In this insightful conversation, Andrew shares some of the wisdom he uncovered and writes about in First Leaders and how we can improve the nature of workplaces by identifying and sharing the wisdom of First Nations.

Andrew shares his experiences and observations travelling the globe to meet with 11 different cultures to discuss leadership within their communities. We discuss some of the principles he writes about in First Leaders, including the importance of respect, the commonality of how and why leadendrew shares some of the wisdom he uncovered and writes about in First Leadersrs get appointed and the focus on investing time into mentoring the younger generation.

Discussing learning and development, Andrew shares how large modern workplaces can often leave people feeling anonymous and lost in the system. On the contrary, the First Nations people he interviewed all had close mentors who played a vital role in their lives. We also talk about the lack of gender equality in First Nations leadership and what we can learn from this as well.

Meeting with First Nations people all around the world was an incredible experience for Andrew and there is so much to learn from the wisdom he uncovered. I know you’re going to get so much out of this conversation today.


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Instagram: @juliehydeleads