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Raising the Bar in Community Leadership

Click here to download Notes from Professor Mann.pdf

Raising the Bar in Community Leadership

04 March 2012

Melbourne’s leadership were challenged on Sunday at the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s (JCCV) “Strengthening our Community Forum” to examine how well they are leading and making a difference.

Professor Leon Mann, Director of the Research Leadership Unit at the University of Melbourne is an expert in leadership, teams and decision making. He skilfully facilitated this interactive workshop and led the group through discussions on leadership strategy and effectiveness; how to influence people; understanding resistance to change; and the importance of working with key stakeholders to turn ideas into action.

Professor Mann posed that leaders must fill a multitude of roles and be visionaries, strategists, change agents, networkers, implementers, team and resource builders, problem solvers, negotiators, monitor–evaluators and  mentors. Therefore it is essential to know your strengths and compliment any gaps with a leadership team or duo.

Nina Bassat, AM initiated the forum as she is keen to better understand affiliate needs and provide community coordination and support. She said, “Our community leaders shape the future of our community and providing support like this helps to develop skills, efficiency and effectiveness.”

The differences between communal leadership and corporate leadership  were also discussed such as: decisions being revisited and consensus based; leadership being shared with paid professionals; people being possessive and territorial; and that it’s hard to change the legacy of old ideas and ways of doing things. Professor Mann suggested that consensus isn’t good business practice as organisations need to make decisions based on vision, knowledge and needs and that if you only make incremental change when powerful change is needed, you are not leading. He emphasised that office staff must be of high quality and continually skilled up as they form a part of the leadership team and are critical to your success.

As part of our affiliate support strategy we invited affiliates to contribute to “What’s Nu”: a new internal service for affiliates sent to community organisations weekly to link and promote activity, events and share information.

The next leadership forum will take place in October 2012.

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