ALL EARS: Acting Superintendent Gary Pettiford, Bundaberg State High year 11 student Katie McCord, Senior Constable Mick Gray, Kepnock year 10 student Thomas Langmead, St Luke's year 12 student Mollee Loeskow and Sergeant Meg Owens were excited to hear Ben Roberts-Smith (back centre) speak about the values of leadership.
ALL EARS: Acting Superintendent Gary Pettiford, Bundaberg State High year 11 student Katie McCord, Senior Constable Mick Gray, Kepnock year 10 student Thomas Langmead, St Luke's year 12 student Mollee Loeskow and Sergeant Meg Owens were excited to hear Ben Roberts-Smith (back centre) speak about the values of leadership. Tahlia Stehbens

Leadership tips from Australian war hero

AFTER six deployments to Afghanistan, a medal for gallantry and a prized Victoria Cross award, businessman and former soldier Ben Roberts-Smith knows a thing or two about leadership.

Mr Roberts-Smith spent 17 years in the military and said adapting what he had learnt about moral courage and values-based decision-making to use in everyday life was what he would be sharing with senior students.

"Coming from the military, leadership is something that we take quite seriously, obviously, at many levels,” he said. "Being able to take those skills that I learnt from the military has been extremely useful because there's a good understanding of planning, how to motivate people, how to bring them along on that journey that you have to take in any business or industry.

"But importantly it's about interacting with people... from a leadership perspective you need to tailor the way you lead different people because we're all different. Understanding that and having good emotional intelligence is really important.”

Mr Roberts-Smith said while communicating with a younger crowd it was important he relate his experiences to ones they could employ in their own lives.

"Whether that's then how they deal with leadership situations in school and more importantly how they are going to deal with leadership situations in their lives outside of that,” he said.

Having good communication skills, understanding what moral courage is, being aware of one's own personal ethos and leading by example were key aspects of his message.

"Life is difficult and understanding what you stand for and want to be known for is really important.”

Mr Roberts-Smith said the senior students were at a pivotal point in their lives where understanding who they were was crucial for their next step.

"They need to identify the values they hold dear and they also need to identify how we should be looking to treat other people,” he said.

"It's really simple, we want to encourage that Australian spirit of looking after each other, but always giving everyone a chance and respect being the main thing.”

The visit was an initiative of Bundaberg Police.

St Luke's Year 12 student Mollee Loeskow said she wanted to study a dual degree in media and business management and was looking forward to learning key leadership techniques from Mr Roberts-Smith.

"I want to learn other techniques that are different to what teachers have told me about leadership,” she said.

"I want to evolve my role as much as I can.”

Senior Constable Mick Gray said teens constantly had police, teachers and parents talking at them and hoped having someone of Mr Roberts-Smith's calibre would help cross the barrier between what's said and what's heard.



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