Agriculture and the “Leaders are Born Mindset” – why has it become part of our identity?

Its been a week of getting my confidence back by stepping up and saying yes to podcasts and interviews

Tonight I get to share my thoughts on leadership

Here is my leadership thought dump of other people’s ideas that resonate with me

Leadership is a process of influence to drive change

We can’t do it alone and we can do it in silos

We must join forces, share resources, skills, knowledge and experiences. Source Julie McAlpin RDA Sydney

I workshopped below with a number of bright minds who came to agriculture from the world beyond and put their toes in the water and went wow the disruptors are very brave people

Agriculture tends to have a “Leaders are Born Mindset”

This has been driven by agriculture’s traditional patriarchal culture where the first born son inherits the farm. This concept has been perpetuated for centuries.

It is a very deep-seated generational identity culture.

In this country women were not allowed to call themselves farmers in the census until 1994

In a sector where you are rewarded for learning to fit in and NOT challenge the status quo we are asking people to re-identify who we are as an industry and as people

Asking people to embrace the concept of “Leaders are Made” will be frightening for a lot of people

This has led to our traditional leadership programs being one off events with no clear pathway of what could be next

These programs are seen as “vehicles” to expose the “born leaders” and position them to fulfil their birth destiny.

and now to the work of the team from The Practice of Adaptive Leadership – Harvard Kennedy School 

How glorious is this concept

Leadership is an experimental art. We are all at the frontier.

Think of your life as a leadership laboratory. In that laboratory, you are continuously facing opportunities for learning how to be more effective in living a meaningful existence, and for making more progress on life’s deepest purposes and leading meaningful change.

Seeing life as a leadership lab enables you to try things out, make mistakes, strengthen your skills, and take pleasure in the journey as well as the fruits of your labour.

This from conversations with our wonderful Young Farming Champions

There is no one size fits all

Young people are doing it differently, the business model has changed

We don’t want to be part of “Old codgers organisations”

We want to ensure young people have a seat at the table

We want to ensure their voices are heard and valued

We can be shapers of “what might we be together”

Back to the brains trust that is the Adaptive Leadership team

The tools and tactics for leading adaptive change should be treated, we believe, in the same spirit as open source technology, made broadly available, so that people who lead adaptive change can learn from each other and improve their skills, and all of us improve our insights into practice.

Leadership for change demands inspiration and perspiration.

We present tools and tactics to lead and stay alive, to build up a sweat by inspiring others, to mobilize people to tackle tough problems while reaching high.

Our work begins with the assumption that there is no reason to exercise leadership, to have a courageous conversation with a boss or a spouse, for example, or to take a risk on a new idea, unless you care about something deeply. What outcome would make the effort and the risk worthwhile?

Trying to create something better from the current reality.

Growing tomorrow’s leaders today moving from reactive to future focused leadership

The practice of leadership, like the practice of medicine, involves two core processes:

  • diagnosis first and then
  • action.

 And those two processes unfold in two dimensions: toward the organizational or social system you are operating in and toward yourself. That is, you diagnose what is happening in your organization or community and take action to address the problems you have identified.

But to lead effectively, you also have to examine and take action toward yourself in the context of the challenge. In the midst of action, you have to be able to reflect on your own attitudes and behaviour to better calibrate your interventions into the complex dynamics of organizations and communities.

You need perspective on yourself as well as on the systemic context in which you operate. The process of diagnosis and action begins with data collection and problem identification (the what), moves through an interpretive stage (the why) and on to potential approaches to action as a series of interventions into the organization, community, or society (the what next).

Typically, the problem-solving process is iterative, moving back and forth among data collection, interpretation, and action.

Adaptive challenges can only be addressed through changes in people’s priorities, beliefs, habits, and loyalties.

Making progress requires going beyond any authoritative expertise to mobilize discovery, shedding entrenched ways, learning from mistakes, and generating the new capacity to thrive anew.

Just love people who wake up everyday to help us create a better world 


Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

One thought on “Agriculture and the “Leaders are Born Mindset” – why has it become part of our identity?”

  1. So many quotes in there that made me shake my head ie “In this country women were not allowed to call themselves farmers in the census until 1994”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: