Why Community Leadership and why now?

11 March 2015 By Christine Kotur, Leader in Residence

There's something really important missing from the current discussions and debates about leaders and leadership.

It's a piece about how so many leaders are failing to make a real connection with real people in real communities. And I should quickly add that I am deliberately using the word 'community' broadly to include all the people who live near us, who come together in work places, board rooms, council chambers and or connect through politics. I'm also including those people who go about their daily lives, not seeking prominence or reward but who pop up, sometimes only for a short time, to lead on a particular heart-felt issue or step up to support others during a crisis or who are simply sought out to lead by others who know they are smart, trustworthy and instil confidence and hope.

Now more than ever before it is important for people in key positions to examine what they need to know and be able to do to lead effectively. History was once a reliable teacher for new leaders but today's issues are so complex, technology and innovation moving so fast, risks so unpredictable and trust in leaders so hard to maintain that we need new, fresh ways of developing our leaders.

Disasters we used to describe as 'once in a hundred year events' - fires, floods, extreme weather - are now commonplace and as economies shift, structural reforms take effect and international developments touch every aspect of our lives there will need to be new efforts to keep communities - in the broadest sense of the word - in good shape. This is where community leadership comes in.  

Healthy communities will increasingly need leaders who can learn quickly and find positive, creative solutions to new problems. These leaders will routinely need to resolve differences and make political trade-offs and decisions fairly since they will need to earn our trust and support to lead us through changes we may not welcome.

They will need to be engaging story tellers to offer us alternative ways of seeing. They will need to be well networked and have stores of intellectual energy and resilience because community needs and expectations will keep shifting and it will take persistence to maintain momentum for change.

The Folio Community Leadership Program, like all Leadership Victoria programs, is designed so participants can adapt quickly to these new challenges and immediately start using important new skills, knowledge and experiences.

About the Author
Christine Kotur
LV Leader in Residence