4.3 Evaluating your leadership
It is critical to keep an eye on the effectiveness and legitimacy of your leadership in the context of governance, because so much depends upon that leadership.
Everyone in the community has a responsibility for what goes on, not just the leaders. Community and group members have to keep their leaders accountable. Effective leadership can descend into self-serving behaviour when members do not want to hold their leaders accountable, or when there are weak rules and procedures to support members doing that.
As one senior leader in West Arnhem Land said, “My community members are my jury: they keep me honest and give me their verdict on whether I’m doing my job properly”.
4.3.1 Some problem signs to watch out for
It is pretty easy to identify the signs of poor leadership qualities and values.
You’ll know something is going wrong if you notice that leaders are:
- unaccountable for their actions
- biased in their representation
- unilateral in making decisions
- power hungry
- not turning up to meetings
- not listening to others
- full of talk but no action.
4.3.2 Evaluate your leadership health
This check-up is not meant to replace a thorough evaluation of your leadership arrangements. It also doesn’t assess traditional systems and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership. Its main purpose is to help you:
- identify major areas where leadership may be weak
- identify leadership strengths
- encourage discussion
- get people involved in leadership issues
- identify priority areas for closer evaluation and possible change.
You will find more ways of evaluating leadership in the governance of incorporated organisations in Topic 5.
Check-up: Your leadership health
This evaluation is for leaders working both formally and informally in organisations or the wider community. You can use it to find out how effective, capable and legitimate your leadership is.
4.3.3 Map your leadership history
Another way to learn about your current leadership is to look back at your leadership history.
Talk with others in your community or committee about the kind of leaders you had in the past.
- Who did a good job and why?
- Who had too much pressure and stopped being an effective leader?
- What kind of values and qualities did your past leaders have?
- How did they settle conflicts?
- How did they enforce rules?
- How did they communicate with their group members?
Then use these questions to think about what kind of leaders you have now, and what kind you need in the future. You can adapt the mapping your governance history template in Topic 3.2 to help you do this.
4.3.4 Turning leadership evaluation into action
Once you have identified and ranked the problem areas in your leadership you can then start thinking about a strategy and actions to make the changes you want.
There are sections in the governance development and action plan described in Topic 3.1 that can help you to start working through some of the leadership challenges you’ve identified from the leadership health check-up.
In Topic 5 you will also find other resources to assist with planning and implementing your ideas and solutions about leadership within your organisation.