Do you want to become a tech leader but aren’t quite sure where to start?

Here at Telstra our success is based on our people reaching and exceeding their career goals.

So we asked our Executive Director of our Global Products, Michelle Bendschneider, who became a leader at the age of 22, what tips she has for aspiring leaders in the technology sector.

Here is her advice:

What do you think defines good leadership?

As a leader, you have to be well rounded, which means you must have an ability to set vision and clarity, to be able to give the business and your team clarity of intent whilst bringing energy, engagement and excitement about the future. But, you also need to follow that up with a pragmatic way to execute.

From my personal opinion and experience, great leadership is one that brings a level of energy in the business that has the future in clear sight, but also the need to execute here and now. That to me is a really good balance.

What qualities do you need to be a leader in the technology industry?

There is a lot of hype associated with the technology industry, and it’s tremendously exciting and humbling to be working in the era of mass technology adoption. But I challenge you to really think about why you are in technology. Is it because we are living in a technology hype? Or is there a genuine passion for technology and what it can unlock for society, and your role within that?

If you are comfortable with the technology question and are truly passionate about the wonders of technology, then you are on the right path! But if not, sit back and think about that choice because it’s a tough industry to be in without passion.

What advice do you have for women who aspire to lead?

Advice for women wanting to take on leadership roles: there are all types of leadership. Individual contributors can be great leaders and technology specialists have just as much leadership impact as a people leader despite the two being quite different.

What type do you envision for yourself? Do you see yourself steering a large group of people? Or do you feel you have more value as an individual contributor with leadership skills?

Often there is a perception that the larger the pool of people you lead, the more important you are in the organisation but that’s not the case in the modern ways of leading. Leading is about influencing outcomes that you don’t necessarily control and being accountable for those that you do.

A final piece of advice

My number one piece of advice on leadership is to be really introspective about what makes you happy, what drives your passion.

Leadership is a two sided coin – you can make business changing decisions and lead people, but on the flip side you are held accountable for business outcomes. Own your space confidently and give yourself permission to enjoy it.


  • A leader needs to be well-rounded
  • Be passionate about the technology industry
  • Think about the type of leader you want to be

Learn more about where a career at Telstra could take you.