Strategic public sector leadership (extended)

Crawford School of Public Policy | Executive course
Policy Essentials


Strategic Public Sector Leadership: impacting wellbeing, performance & productivity in the modern workplace.

Course overview

Cultivating a High Performing Mind & Excellence in Leadership:

Workshop and fieldwork for helping individuals develop a high performing mind and excellence in self-directed public-sector leadership and management

Structured Foresighting:

Workshop and fieldwork in visionary organisational leadership in preparation for change & uncertainty

Strategic Roadmapping:

Workshop and fieldwork to translate departmental goals and government priorities into pragmatic, benchmarked and achievable opportunities.

Prosocial Polycentric Governance:

Workshop and fieldwork to build a polycentrically governed, cooperative, productive team culture across your organisation.

A Behavioural Science Approach to Communication:

Workshop and fieldwork on observing, describing and tracking valued behaviour as instruments within a community of practice


Participating individuals and organisations will be more adequately equipped to response to the challenges of this century. For example, in the areas of food, water and energy security while taking into consideration gender equity and social inclusion. The issues being faced by the public and associated sectors are complex and seeming intractable. An effective response, I believe, will necessarily be multi-disciplinary for those who rise to the challenge. Hence the design of the program – an accessible, well informed, deliberative process that catalyses innovative responses from individuals within nested and interrelated team and community arrangements to the challenges they face within their sphere of influence.

Who should attend?

Selected participants should hold a mid or senior-level policy, practice, research or reform role, in either government, civil society or the private sector. Ideally, they should have completed at least an Undergraduate or Masters level tertiary qualification, have at least five years’ work experience at mid to senior levels, and have a good understanding of the discipline they are representing.

How is the course tailored to meet the needs of bespoke clients?

Based on agreed organisational priorities and participant developmental needs, the program can be delivery as a short course or suite of phases that flexibly integrate to deliver the desired outcomes. The intervention encompasses three broad processes that can be facilitated through the workplace over a period of 3 to 5 months or expedited as a week-long intensive. To this end the approach is modular and scalable and can be customised to meet the needs of leaders working with their teams in related and nested group arrangements.

Course presenter(s)

A/Prof Robert Styles

Dr Robert Styles is an Associate Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. As a Contextual Behavioural Scientist, his applied work has been a study of how language and cognition functions to influence psychological and social wellbeing, particularly the enhancement of team productivity, collaboration and performance. This work has been part of an international initiative stemming out of the University of Nevada and The Evolution Institute, Florida, aimed at applying evolutionary and behavioural principles to solving real-world problems.

The ongoing application of Robert’s research is at the operational nexus of a number of different disciplines including applied behavioural psychology, organisational and cultural sociology, evolutionary science, and systems engineering. Currently this work is being applied in Australia, Pacific, SE Asia and Africa, within corporations and public-sector agencies striving to improve strategic and behavioural approaches to human capital development, and the sustainability of individual and collective endeavours shared across local and regional communities.

Over the last decade Robert has advised and mentored over 300 top executives and leaders and consulted to a range of clients including: the Australian Public Service Commission, NSW Health, Australian National University, Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, Australia Federal Police, NTU Executive MBA Singapore, Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Bhutan Electricity Authority & Senior Energy Sector Officials and China Ministry of Education. Between 2008 and 2012 he was a principal leadership consultant for the APSC-DFAT Leading Australia‘s Future in Asia-Pacific (LAFIA) SES training program; he led the design of the SES leadership development suite of programs implemented by the APSC from 2011-12; and, he designed, lead and researched the impact of an approach to applied behavioural psychology with systems engineering within the Museum of Australian Democracy and Australian Government Department of Finance between 2014 to 2017.

Previous positions include:

  • Contextual Behavioural Scientist, The Australian National University (ANU) 2010 – Present
  • Deputy Director (Strategic Engagement), Australia Pacific Security College, ANU 2019-present
  • Advisor, International Development, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU 2017 – 2019
  • Director, Organisational Leadership & Performance – ANU Enterprise (commercial arm ANU) 2013 – 2017
  • Senior Consultant – Human Resources Division, ANU 2009 – 2012

Updated:  25 October 2021/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team