Changing economic and social pressures in the rural sector mean farmers need to change the way they act and react to challenges if they want to survive and thrive. Strengthening rural leadership has been identified as a key opportunity to help farmers to respond and adapt to their changing environment both on-farm and within their wider sector. From the findings of my research, self-awareness and self-reflection are two recognised traits that show strongly in farmers who are performing well in leadership positions. The link between self-awareness and leadership is strong (Musselwhite, 2007), but the understanding of this link by farmers is limited.
By understanding their past, their experiences and actions, and connecting that with their personality type and leadership style, farmers will be more empowered and prepared to step into the leadership roles that are required to ensure the agriculture sector remains vibrant and adaptable in the future. When a farmer makes time to learn about and reflect on their past experiences, it creates a lightbulb moment.
This lightbulb moment creates an ignition of thought which stimulates them to seek what they need to learn about their leadership style and where they are best suited to contribute their leadership skills. Everyone has the potential to be a leader, whether in their own personal business or the wider sector. To understand this and make a conscious decision to place themselves in an area that is best suited to them, farmers then ensure their effort will provide the biggest benefit to themselves and those around them.