Leadership Observed & Actioned

“Great teams work together because everyone knows their role. It’s no different whether you’re on a football field, in a corporate boardroom, or wherever you may be. You’ve got to know your role.”

Michael Crutcher


When you are asked to write a story about a man who, at 35 years old, became the editor of the Courier Mail, you can’t help but feel a bit intimidated. The Courier Mail is the biggest news outlet in Queensland and Michael Crutcher served in the role from 2010 to 2013. Before becoming the editor, he had stints as the newspaper’s deputy editor, chief of staff and investigations editor. Michael also set up and ran the newspaper’s award-winning investigative unit receiving a Queensland Media Award.


Michael’s experience within print and digital media, across all platforms and executive level, is rare among Australian journalists. As a sportswriter Michael has had the opportunity to cover two Olympic Games and six Australian cricket tours overseas. “I’ve been very fortunate over the years to have a lot of experiences that came through my profession and gave me access to very interesting situations with very interesting leaders, especially through sport and then into politics. So, leadership has always been something I’ve really focused on and been helped along with,” says Michael.


The focus of today’s The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) Podcast is leadership observed and actioned. Who better to have this conversation with than someone who has had the opportunity to sit alongside many political and sporting leaders all around the world!


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Michael reflects on watching the likes of Steven Waugh, who he refers to as one of the most significant leaders he covered as a cricket writer. “Steven was a leader who was quite inspirational, a leader who didn’t compromise on standards that he expected. But at the same time, he managed to be a leader who also was so supportive of his players, particularly those players who might be on the fringe.” Steven was followed by Adam Gilchrist, an underrated and probably reluctant leader (but a very good one) and then Ricky Ponting.


On the political side, during the time Michael was the editor of the Courier Mail, he followed three completely different individuals become the Prime Minister of Australia – Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard. What he learned from political leaders was that they aren’t as straight up as sporting leaders. Consequently, one of the highlights for Michael finishing up in newspapers, is not having to deal with politicians in that relationship anymore.


Nowadays, you will find Michael spending his time helping his clients tell their stories through his company 55 Comms. He is also the president of St. Patrick’s College Foundation at Shorncliffe and Director of Norths Devils Rugby League Football Club. Given it was only recently that North Devils won their first premiership in 23 years, we are especially grateful he was able to protect his voice just enough to be on the podcast!


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Considering Michaels extensive experience, we thought we’d leave you today with the three attributes and/or qualities that he has observed in effective leaders which are: 

  1. People. You’ve got to be able to connect to people.
  2. Inspiring. To be inspiring, you collaborate.
  3. Be cool under pressure. Be cool because you’re the leader.


We invite you to join us for the complete interview to learn more about these three leadership attributes, enjoy the many stories Michael shares taken from his career highlights and even have a laugh about the local parents group, affectionately known as the P.O.S.S.U.M.S., which influenced both Michael and Brendan’s childhood.


The complete interview can be listened to here, on audio platforms, or watched here, on The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) YouTube channel.


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