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May 15: Leadership in Community

Guidance helping leaders rise to challenge

By Kade Dowie


In the latest instalment of the Leadership Ballarat and Western Region program, participants were challenged to explore many aspects of their own personalities and leadership styles. Under the guidance of Garry Trotter from SED Advisory Services, participants explored the barriers to receiving feedback in the community, the workplace and their self. Each participant reviewed their own characteristics and explored how they impacted the type of leader they are. A particular focus of this learning and exploration was focused on how these characteristics may be barriers to behavioural change. The Leaders in attendance benefited immensely from developing their understanding of the way others see their leadership styles and the costs and benefits associated with these traits.

Time was spent exploring the LBWR program so far. Conversations focused around the self-awareness and experiences gained during many varied activities undertaken. Many beliefs and preconceived ideas have been challenged during the first 4 months of LBWR and the leaders are more than willing to continue these sometimes challenging conversations, all with the knowledge each is growing as a future leader.

Leadership is challenging space and comes in many different formats and environments. Many of the participants on the LBWR program lead everyday working lives. The notion of leading within the community is somewhat more challenging. Without authority to influence and direct, the leader must be much more adapt at listening and communicating with others.

During the program LBWR Participants have spent much time working on these skills and the recent gathering gave more opportunities to practice and develop strong listening, communication and interaction skills. This part of the program had strong focus on managing conflict. The importance of facing up to conflict and managing it appropriately clearly demonstrated how conflict can nurture growth, and when managed well, is a healthy part of any conversation. These skills will continue to be refined and developed during the remainder of the program. They are already being implemented and trained on a daily basis within workplaces, community and home by all LBWR participants.

The final part of this adventure saw the LBWR team meet with Eugene Duffy, Editor of The Courier. It was fascinating conversation regarding the role of media within our community. Eugene explained the many challenges of news media including social media, other news sources and the need to mirror what the community is, in and around Ballarat.

Local Newspapers have many roles within our community. Spreading the news of the day is only part of it. The local paper needs to be a community voice, it tells stories and shares topical issues relevant to some, many and sometimes all. It needs to advocate for the local community it serves and reflect what the local community is feeling. It must do all this and remain unbiased, balanced and accurate. It needs to tell both good and bad news stories, some of these stories the readers will not like or agree with.

But that is what leadership is about isn’t it?