The biodiversity and environmental sector are a very important part of the Green Economy. Careers in these sectors are maturing and roles within this sector are evolving based on new insights about how biodiversity and environmental management fits within various organisations and sectors. As these two sectors are maturing, it is important to ensure that they have the right kind of leadership. In a world that has endearing problems such as climate change, limited resources, natural disasters etc., the necessity for biodiversity and environmental leadership has never been higher.
The social, environmental, and economic problems that world faces today are complex and do not have one clear answer, therefore ensuring that there is adequate leadership is a priority to solve these problems. Custodians of the biodiversity and environmental sector are the people that work within these sectors, that is where future biodiversity and environmental leaders will come from. This begs the question. Are you successfully preparing yourself for leadership roles in this field? To help you adequately prepare for leadership in the biodiversity and environmental sector, this blog will provide you with 5 essential skills that you need to cultivate to be a successful leader.
As a future biodiversity leader these are the 5 must-have skills that you need to cultivate:
Skill #1: Ability to Envision Solutions
The problems facing biodiversity and environmental leaders are complex and require a leader that will be forward thinking and be able to envision solutions. Good methods to be able to do is include design thinking and systems thinking. Design thinking is a method for practical and creative problem solving which is greatly useful for problems that are not well defined. Systems thinking is a holistic approach to problem-solving that focuses on how different parts of a system are interrelated and how systems work within the context of larger systems. These methods are great methods that biodiversity and environmental leaders can implement to solve issues that are currently being faced.
Skill #2: Ability to Lead Change
The biodiversity and environmental sectors are transformational sectors by nature. As an environmental and biodiversity leader, you should be to lead change. A lot of the current norms will need to be adjusted, and you will be the one to drive that change. To achieve this, you must be as tough as nails, and you must accept that you will be the most popular person in the boardroom. Change leadership requires you to communicate your vision, collaborate with others and commit to the vision.
Skill #3: Ability to Stay Motivated
Leaders need to inspire the people that they are leading, keeping the team in high spirits and passionate about their work. It therefore important for as a leader to be able to keep yourself motivated, as the teams looks up to you. There are various ways you can do this, and it depends on your personal preference. Some leaders prefer to reward themselves when they have reached their goals, this keeps them motivated to keep on smashing goals. Ensure that you have people around you that will help motivate and inspire you. Ensure that you delegate tasks, that will help you achieve a good work-life balance and keep you motivated to keep moving forward.
Skill #4: Business Acumen
Business acumen is the ability of an individual to deal with a business situation in manner that will likely lead to a positive outcome. The ability to understand business models and how companies make money is essential for a biodiversity leader. This is something that most individuals in the biodiversity and environmental sectors do not have the ability to do and will give you an extra edge as a biodiversity and environmental leader. It does not matter how passionate you may be of environmental issues, if you cannot convince a business audience in business terms you are not likely to get very far.
Skill #5: Selflessness
“Selflessness is the wisdom of getting out of your own way the way of your people, and the way of your organization to unleash the natural flow of energy that people bring to work.”
Leaders, regardless of their field of leadership, have tremendous impact on people’s lives and the way in which the world develops. It is important to be a selfless leader, especially in biodiversity and environmental leadership. Sustainability itself is an act of selflessness, it recognizes that our actions are far-reaching and do not only affect ourselves. It is therefore very important to be selfless as leader in the biodiversity and environmental sectors.
Well, there you have it! The 5 Essential Skills for biodiversity and environmental leadership. The best time to start acquiring these skills is now!
Environmental Youth for the Future!
GreenMatter is a multi-stakeholder organisation that implements the National Biodiversity Human Capital Development Strategy for South Africa.