How Does Your Worldview Affect Your Leadership?

By Tony Matthews (WCLP’10), Leadership Associate, Leadership Victoria

If you struggled with T.S Eliot as much as I did back in high school literature class, then you might be wary of a blog opening with a T.S Eliot quote. That’s why I have buffered it between this sentence and the next:

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” 

Have you ever had one of those surreal experiences when you are in deep conversation with someone that you have perhaps known your whole life, and in that moment, it is as if you are looking on them for the first time? In that moment, you see them in a different light, and it changes everything.

I don’t know any developmental psychologists but if there was one here now, they would probably tell us (in plainer language than Eliot) that we are all shaped by these moments and life experiences. No one is without bias. We all see the world through our own tinted glasses and we are never lens free.

These frames are known as our ‘action-logics’ – they give meaning to how we see the world and the logic that informs our very thoughts and actions.

But most of us are not conscious of our action-logic and while we are blind to it, we cannot transform ourselves or our organisations beyond it.

Think about the ‘shifting sands’ of your sector or industry. Operating in an unpredictable landscape (and what sector is not?), will your organisation ever realise its vision with current conventional thinking?

All around us we see the need for more insightful, strategic leadership. Leaders today need to transcend beyond the conventional – move beyond the ‘diplomat’, ‘expert’ or even ‘achiever’ frames to post conventional, strategic thinking.

Since 2012, Leadership Victoria has been applying constructive development theory in our senior leadership programs (the Williamson and Folio Leadership Programs). Participants have been profiled using the Harthill Leadership Development Profile, to identify their constructed reality (action-logic) and how it is that they respond to situations.

Undertaking a pre-program assessment and a longitudinal, post program assessment, over 70% of participants transformed beyond the limits of their current thinking, towards a more post conventional frame.

This supports much more comprehensive research that shows that a vertical learning experience can actually advance our leadership capabilities and how we plan and respond for the future of our very own organisations and communities.

In a world moving so fast, it isn’t a question of just keeping up anymore, but how we move ahead of conventional thinking. The first step is to shine the light on ourselves, accept the limitations of our current action-logic, before we can transform.

If you are interested in learning more about this work, a good starting point is: Seven Transformations of Leadership, David Rooke and William Torbert, April 2005, Harvard Business Review


Tony Matthews (WCLP’10), Leadership Associate, Leadership Victoria

Tony has extensive management and leadership experience gained from working across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. With over 25 years’ experience in the design, development and delivery of high quality leadership and professional development programs, Tony has a passion and drive for creating learning organisations and communities.  

From 2011 to 2019, Tony was the General Manager Leadership Programs at Leadership Victoria. Prior to commencing at Leadership Victoria, Tony was Manager Professional Development with Local Government Professionals Inc (LGPro) with responsibility for overseeing and responding to the professional development requirements of the local government sector, including lead facilitation of prominent programs and activities across the sector. 

Tony has demonstrated his commitment to leadership for social impact through a number of community projects, including involvement in an AusAid project to develop and deliver a suite of leadership development offerings to Timor-Leste officers in preparation for the decentralization of Timor-Leste government.

In his past role at Leadership Victoria as General Manager Leadership Programs, Tony and his team designed and delivered LV’s full suite of open enrolment and tailored programs and activities including the Williamson Community Leadership Program, the Folio Community Leadership Program and the Board Leadership Programs, together with the customised leadership development activities and Leadership Victoria’s mentoring and community project capabilities. Tony is now a Leadership Associate with Leadership Victoria.  

Tony is an Alumnus of the Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP’10) and holds a Master of Management (Full Distinction) and an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts.  

Other Qualifications:

  • Graduate Diploma in Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Human Resources
  • Certificate IV Assessment and Workplace Training
  • Certified Targeted Selection Interviewer
  • Accredited Harthill Leadership Development Profile Facilitator (Stages of Social Consciousness)
  • Accredited Immunity to Change Process Facilitator (trained directly by Lisa Lahey, faculty member of Harvard University and co-creator of the Immunity to Change process)

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