Why invest in leadership? Firstly, when we talk about leadership we are not talking just about people who take on formal roles as leaders, but about a certain way of behaving that involves cooperation, collaboration, sharing, being open to others and their ideas, welcoming diversity, being patient and non judgmental, giving everyone a go. The list goes on, but you can see how different this list is from the leader who says ‘do this’, ‘do that’, ‘my way or the highway’.

When many people are working together, leadership is not a single role or a title; it becomes a way of behaving, of working as a team in which everyone ‘leads’ in some way.

So, why invest in leadership? The simple answer is that people working together in cooperation tend to achieve better outcomes, enjoy work more and share in the rewards. They can also share the pain and burden of unsuccessful ventures. It’s not all on one person’s shoulders.

Why is this type of leadership more important now than it was in the past?

Here are just a few thoughts:

We live in an increasingly complex and shifting world and this volatile environment is confronting dairy businesses. It means that leadership will require new approaches and capabilities for the industry and individual dairy businesses in order to be profitable and confident in the future. The more minds that contribute, the more likely we are to come up with good answers. And the answers won’t be the same for everyone so we will need many options. It is not a case of ‘one size fits all’.

People work better and contribute more when they feel their ideas are valued; when they know they are being listened to and when they feel safe to say what they think without fear of ridicule or punishment.

For a positive cultural change to occur in the dairy industry and be sustained, leaders in formal positions still have a key role; however it is critical that everyone in the dairy industry takes up their role in contributing to a culture of leadership, embodying the mindsets and behaviours identified as critical to realise our industry interests

Those behaviours and mindsets encompass a commitment to culture change that includes agreed values, mindsets and behaviours that will promote a more unified, inclusive and collaborative industry culture.