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Conservation Leadership in The Bahamas

As some of you know, I recently finished my Masters of Philosophy in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge. I would like to note, again, that this course truly changed my perspective on the conservation sector, gave me direction in my conservation career path, and gave me such a substantial understanding of what it means to be a leader.

Disclaimer: This blog contains my personal thoughts and observations about conservation leadership in The Bahamas. This does not reflect the opinions of any organization I am affiliated with, past or present.

Photo by: Lucia Rodriuguez

In this blog, I want to talk a bit about the concept of situational leadership. Between 1969 - 1980's, Hersey & Blanchard developed the situational leadership model. This model recognized the need for an adaptable leadership (and management) style. It looked at the dimensions of task and relationship. This dynamic is best looked at when considering a new employee and you as their leader or "boss".

Image from Oregon Business article written by Ashleigh Gunter, 2nd July 2019

Based on the developmental level your employee is at, determines whether your leadership should be more supportive or directive. No individual is the same, and no one stays the same, therefore you may find yourself and your employee changing levels from time to time - this can be due to a new task or project.

I highlight this model because I feel as if the common leadership behaviors I've seen are Delagating: low support & low directive and Directing: low support and high directive. As you can see in both, support is low.

What is it to support your employee though? I believe it's confidence-building and that is achieved by showing your employees how things are done, which is really just taking the time to walk them from step 1 until they have moved from "capable but cautious performer"/"Disillusioned Learner" to Self-Reliant Achiever - which is the ideal for any leader/manager.

I want to highlight, that in my experience, employees do well and grow stronger when they are supported and coached in their beginning stages. Some employees will be in this stage shorter than others, but that does not take away from their capability and potential.

Take aways?

As a leader/manager or "boss", be mindful and aware of your staff's needs, weaknesses, and strengths. I believe a leader should assist their team members by providing them with the support and training they need to build confidence and competence. I also believe they should be able to adapt to all levels of employees' needs - you can't only be a good leader to a strong, independent employee.

It seems to have become a norm to "throw people into the fire" and have them figure this new role out for themselves. They were hired because they are skilled and capable, but be sure to ensure that they are confident and competent in a particular role. Adjusting to a new work environment and role (no matter how similar) has a curve.

Take the time to train, support, and coach your team, that's the only way we all win.

These are my initial thoughts, tell me what you think in the comments or contact me using the form.

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