There is no personality template for leadership, landholders will learn over the coming months: it's a quality that can emerge in the right people in the right circumstances.
How those qualities can be drawn out will be explored over the next 12 weeks in a comprehensive leadership program facilitated by Dr Simon Burgess, Lecturer in Management at the University of New England (UNE).
Hosted by Tamworth Regional Landcare Association (TRLA) and UNE, the North West Emerging Leaders program was conceived with a broad definition of 'leadership' in mind.
"A lot of people don't see themselves as leaders, but as soon as you try to make change or get something done that involves more than yourself, leadership is involved," North West Regional Landcare Co-ordinator and the program's instigator, Craig Pullman, said.
"Landcare is all about mobilising the community, so the idea of this program is to give individuals who may not have previously thought about leadership, the tools, and the concepts they need to carry others along with them in their projects."
With this idea of empowering Landcarers to "take action themselves", Mr Pullman approached Head of UNE Business School and Professor in Management, Dr Sujana Adapa, with the idea of a course for emerging leaders.
Dr Adapa developed the course content and consulted Dr Burgess, who seized at the opportunity to take his teaching to a wider audience.
A specialist in business and professional ethics and corporate responsibility, Dr Burgess aims to turn participants' gaze away from external, pre-defined models of leadership to their own latent capability.
"Traditional leadership training has so often suggested what leaders need to be like," Dr Burgess says.
"What's often been under-appreciated, however, is the need to recognise the specific strengths that a particular individual already has."
Certain leadership tendencies may be inherent in a person's makeup, but others may have to find the qualities in themselves.
"Most of us know that good leadership requires self-awareness. But even for many wonderfully accomplished people, self-awareness often doesn't come naturally. Something that we emphasise in this course is that leaders need to be comfortable in seeing themselves through the eyes of others."
"If they can do that, they'll be so much better at winning the trust and support of those around them."
The North West Emerging Leaders program will run between 5th August and 4th November 2022, alternating between webinars and in-person sessions.
Dr Burgess will be joined by co-facilitators from local community groups, businesses and government who will share other examples of leadership in action.
Landcare is running the course as a not-for-profit exercise, without a particular focus on the Landcare organisation.
"It's a purely altruistic exercise," Mr Pullman said. "The goal is to encourage more community-based action - because that's where Landcare comes from."
For UNE, the course represents an opportunity to bring the University's expertise to bear on community capacity building.
"The University is committed to providing expertise that empowers the communities it sits within," Dr Adapa says.
"Teaching ready-to-apply leadership skills that can help people lead change within their respective communities aligns with UNE's strategic priorities."
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