This is a word of the moment, the meaning of which could be described as still malleable.  It is in very general terms a positive thing to be forward-leaning although to some people it could seem almost aggressive.  A Trump speech about China is likely to be forward-leaning but stopping short of outright hostility.  

For others forward-leaning means ‘slightly ahead of the game’, as in:
‘Labor’s “forward-leaning” policies around climate and energy have left the party “vulnerable to punishment” in Queensland, according to former minister and Sky News host Stephen Conroy’. Sky News 18/05/2019.

Going further in that direction it can be taken to mean ‘premature’. Shorten’s policy on electric cars could have been described as a tad forward-leaning given the love affair everyone seemed to have with their utes. 

I guess that for some of us the notion of leaning forward into the future, like a runner breasting the tape, is associated with the positive idea of progress, aspirations, courageous policy, etc. For others it is impetuous and foolhardy. For others it is an assertion of power. It would be nice if the word settles down a bit from this heady beginning. Stops being so forward-leaning perhaps.

Sue ButlerComment