With the benefit of having some grey hair, which means I’ve been around on the planet for a while, I have noticed that the young people Ambios helped towards achieving their goals for nature, science, education and employment have moved on… Many have become the current generation of wildlife professionals. This is due to their perseverance, curiosity about the world around them and the right training. These factors, alongside some (probably difficult) life choices, mixed in with a bit of luck (being in the right place at the right time) have helped. But also it is simply because of the passage of time (our first trainees were back in 2001 and we’ve had trainees with us every year since!). What this means is that you – yes you – the person reading this right now, WILL continue into a job (doing something for sure) and you are highly likely, with perseverance, curiosity and learning, take your place in with the next generation of wildlife professionals. This is as sure as my grey hairs will become more numerous.
This all means that, just like our former trainees have done, you are heading into leadership roles. Learning about leadership and the good practice around it is therefore really important. Leaders can equally destroy an organisation as they can make it great. Your style of leadership WILL count. In a leadership position you are very likely to have a potentially profound impact on those around you. I would therefore encourage you to investigate, seek out, practice and learn about what makes good leadership. It’s not hard to get right, it is easy to get wrong. No one should expect leadership to be great all the time, no one is perfect, but practice helps and there are some great resource out there that can guide you.
Remember – leadership is not about becoming the Chief Executive or ‘the boss’, leadership can and does happen all over the place within an organisation. It is about helping and supporting others, growing their confidence, moving people towards their chosen goals. Those goals might be large or small, each is a precious thing to that individual and should be to you as well. If you’d like a reward, watch the smile on their face when they achieve it. For someone who’s never identified a bird, the first time they recognise a blue tit is a magic moment. It calls for celebration. For someone who’s collecting the practical skills they need to become a countryside ranger, that post-interview job offer is a magic moment. It too calls for celebration.
There are some great online resources that can guide you towards great leadership (search for Ted Talks and something will come up!). Leadership is different things to different people. The best examples are those that encourage and facilitate a solution focused, empowering framework. For Ambios it’s about helping anyone, from anywhere (inside or outside the organisation) to achieve whatever goals they might set for themselves for nature, science, education or employment. And sometimes it’s not even about setting those kind of goals, it’s about being ok, feeling ok and finding your inner Chi – that brings us to Kung Fu panda – that’ll have to wait for our next blog…