Effective leadership from female perspective

Effective leadership from female perspective


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Robbie Sefton, principal Sefton and Associates, Tamworth addressing women with a passion for primary industry on the issue of leadership during the Food and Fibre with Flair seminar in Griffith

Robbie Sefton, principal Sefton and Associates, Tamworth addressing women with a passion for primary industry on the issue of leadership during the Food and Fibre with Flair seminar in Griffith

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The Food and Fibre with Flair collaboration saw women in the rice and cotton industries to network with like-minded women and share their knowledge.

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One of the most critical issues in any business or walk of life is the concept of effective leadership and how it is not only defined but determined.

The question of necessary skills which relate to compelling leadership was put to those women who attended the Food and Fibre with Flair luncheon at Griffith by well-known business leader Robbie Sefton.

Facilitated by Rice Extension, WINCOTT, Local Land Services and AgriFutures Australia, the forum attracted a wide cross-section of the female 

Ms Sefton is the principal of Sefton and Associates, a rural and regional communication specialist team based in Tamworth and she told her fascinated audience “communication is the key” to success in any endeavour.

“We are the communicators and we have to bring others along for the ride,” Ms Sefton said.

“You have to harness them and know they are comfortable and that they have your support.”

Collaborative group sessions at the conclusion of Ms Sefton’s address focused on the theme – ‘What makes great leadership?’.

One of the characteristics raised when determining ‘great leadership’ was the personality of the person and their empathy towards those they are leading.

A good leader is one who engages with and empowers others to fully express their potential, was a common theme mentioned by each group.

Speaking from the floor on behalf of her group, Lizzie Starr, NAB agribusiness, Griffith account manager said the personality of the leader is decisive.

“We think it is valuable for them to have a positive attitude and lead by example,” she said.

“They will have the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes and see where they are coming from.” 

The ability to mentor was also seen as a prerequisite of good leadership, with those who most successful comfortable about passing on their knowledge and lifting the confidence of those they are leading.

“Our group thought that being a leader is a lot about being a mentor, and to empower your group to work effectively,” was Frieda O’Sullivan’s comment.

“Our third point was to open and honest … don’t sugar-coat anything … honesty is the best thing you can do.” 

Other thoughts from the floor included being a good listener is just as important as being a good talker: indeed it was thought being able to listen and take in another’s thoughts was the most crucial factor in effective communication.

It was further pointed out a good leader knows when to should seek help from others, rather than just thinking they ‘know it all’.

‘Respect for others’ was raised many times, and all thought it one of the most valuable traits a good leader has.

Related: Get the message out there!

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