Leadership in agriculture – going beyond titles

Leadership in agriculture – going beyond titles

As organisations across farming and growing celebrate #AgriLeadershipWeek, Sarah Koppen, TIAH’s CPD Manager, reflects on what true leadership means in agriculture.
Effective leadership requires integrity and great communication skills, as well as other key traits, says Sarah Koppen.
There's more to leadership than just allocating tasks.
Effective leadership requires integrity and great communication skills, as well as other key traits, says Sarah Koppen.

Leadership really isn't confined to a title or position in agriculture; it's about the influence you wield, the integrity you uphold and the continuous growth you pursue.

In the dynamic world of farming and growing, these qualities are essential for driving innovation, fostering community and ensuring sustainable practices.

Together, we’ll investigate how these elements form a crucial part of your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) journey.

Influence: the heart of leadership

Leadership in agriculture is about more than managing a team or running a farm. It's about influencing others to achieve common goals and drive positive change. Influence is built on trust and respect, not authority. Here are some ways to cultivate influence:

  • Build trust. Trust is the foundation of influence. Be transparent, keep your promises and show consistency in your actions.
  • Communicate effectively. Good leaders are excellent communicators. Listen actively, provide clear instructions and be open to feedback.
  • Lead by example. Demonstrate the behaviours and work ethic you expect from others. Your actions will inspire and motivate your team 

Integrity: The backbone of leadership

Integrity is the cornerstone of effective leadership. It involves being honest, ethical and consistent in your actions.

In agriculture, where trust and reliability are paramount, integrity is non-negotiable. Here’s how to integrate integrity into your leadership:

  • Be honest. Always tell the truth, even when it's difficult. Honesty builds credibility and trust
  • Own your mistakes. Acknowledge your errors and learn from them. This shows humility and a commitment to improvement
  • Practice what you preach. Align your actions with your words. Consistency between your values and behaviours strengthens your leadership

Growth: The journey of leadership

Leadership is a continuous journey of learning and development. Embracing growth through CPD ensures you stay relevant and effective in your role.
Here’s how to incorporate growth into your leadership journey:

  • Engage in lifelong learning. Stay curious and open to new knowledge. Attend workshops, read industry publications and participate in training programs
  • Seek feedback. Regularly ask for feedback from your peers and team members. Use this input to improve your skills and approach
  • Reflect and adapt. Take time to reflect on your experiences and adapt your strategies accordingly. Reflection helps you understand what works and what doesn’t

Integrating leadership into your CPD journey

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is not just about acquiring new skills; it's about evolving as a leader. Here are some CPD activities that can enhance your leadership qualities:

  • Courses, workshops and seminars. Attend events focused on leadership skills, such as communication, conflict resolution and team management. Find out more about the range of courses available for leaders and managers in farming and growing
  • Mentorship programs. Engage in mentorship, either as a mentor or mentee. This provides valuable insights and fosters mutual growth
  • Networking events. Participate in industry conferences and networking events to connect with other leaders and share best practices
  • Online courses. Enrol in online courses that focus on leadership development. TIAH’s online service can offer you a variety of relevant courses

Leadership in agriculture goes beyond holding a title; it's about the influence you have, the integrity you maintain and the growth you pursue. True leadership is about making a positive impact, leading with integrity and continuously striving for growth.

Remember, business leadership expert Simon Sinek wisely once said: “Leadership is not a journey to rise in the ranks, leadership is a journey to help those around us rise."

Embrace these principles and you'll inspire others to follow in your footsteps, creating a thriving and innovative sector.

Find out more about AgriLeadership Week and look through the resources and courses available to help you become a better leader.

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