It is the industry stakeholders who will make the best leaders

Supporting emerging leaders at grassroots level

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Agricultural groups need to rethink their approach to leadership and perhaps not ask who the leaders are, but where the leaders are, according to Gillian Fennell.

Agricultural groups need to rethink their approach to leadership and perhaps not ask who the leaders are, but where the leaders are, according to Gillian Fennell.

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COMMENT: Cattle producer questions what the ag sector is doing to support leaders.

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COMMENT

Leadership.

It is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot.

Leadership is a hot topic for any struggling industry, organisation or political party and is seen as a sure-fire money-maker for any number of charlatans and snake oil sellers.

A brief internet search will tell you all you need to know - and more - about what type of leader you are, how to inspire meaningful change and - for a price - what you can do to improve your leadership potential.

Leadership is broadly defined as being "the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal".

This sounds great, but it is rather meaningless in the context of being a leader.

Some people are led into leadership, through frustration and passion, to take up the challenge to drive improvement and change.

Some stumble into the role by being bold enough to step-up and speak their mind, finding that many others do, in fact, agree with them.

Others pursue leadership as a specific goal, a destination that will fulfill life-long ambitions and dreams.

None of these is the "wrong" way to find yourself in a leadership position.

It is a combination of circumstances, opportunities, and ability.

Agriculture is keenly aware of the perceived lack of leaders, with organisations from grassroots to national bodies investing heavily in the development of leadership capacity across our various industries.

It gives many people the opportunity to gain skills that they may not ordinarily have the chance to, and promotes the networking and relationship building that is essential for effective leadership.

But it may also be said that the leaders are already there, and it is not a lack of development opportunities holding them back.

It is time for all agricultural representative groups to rethink their approach to leadership and perhaps not ask who our leaders are, but where our leaders are.

What is industry doing to support those already in leadership positions?

How can they be supported to provide the strong, effective leadership that agriculture needs?

How are we making sure that those who want to participate can do so?

Parents of young children, especially women, are often left by the wayside when it comes to leadership opportunities.

The same can also be said for producers who have the sole responsibility for the operation of any farm.

Taking time away from farms or family requires a very efficient support network, which is rare for rural, remote and isolated residents.

These people are at the front line, and yet cannot afford to take the time needed to effectively participate in the leadership of their own industries.

And yet, aren't these the people that should be leading us forwards?

The biggest stakeholders of all are the ones whose future depends on a profitable, sustainable agricultural industry for Australia.

- Gillian Fennell lives with her family on a remote beef property in outback South Australia. You can follow Gillian on Twitter @stationmum101

The story It is the industry stakeholders who will make the best leaders first appeared on Stock & Land.

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