1 Tahrcountry Musings: A new understanding of conservation leadership

Friday, January 06, 2012

A new understanding of conservation leadership

Leadership and conservation effectiveness: finding a better way to lead

Simon A. Black, Jim J. Groombridge, and Carl G. Jones

Conservation Letters, Volume 4Issue 5pages 329–339October/November 2011

Here is a very interesting paper that is very relevant to conservation. The researchers take a deep look in to the aspects of leadership as an important component for conservation programs.

The attributes of effective leaders in conservation scenario are not yet clearly defined. The researchers identify a leadership approach that enables a conservation organization to be more effective in achieving positive results.

The researchers say successful approaches resonate strongly with both the characteristics of species conservation and established leadership theory in mainstream management literature. They describe the practices identified in successful species conservation programs to provide the basis for a new understanding of conservation leadership using established management theory. 

Here are the traits of what the authors say indicates  good conservation leadership

1)    An ability to share a clear, long-term vision; orientation toward “hands-on” management;
2)    An ability to switch thinking between the big picture and the detail
3)    A willingness to encourage learning, improvement, and receptiveness to alternative solutions

The authors assert that activities in the conservation sector are typically influenced by factors beyond the control of managers, but conversely, a leadership approach is under managers’ direct control and has an impact on attainment of results.

The researchers sign off with the following words

“Effective leadership is one factor that should not be left to chance but should be considered seriously for its impact on achievement in biodiversity conservation”.

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