5 hallmarks of a strong community leader Stellenbosch Business School Skip to main content
hallmarks of a strong community leader
Having a leading figure within a community is incredibly important to the community’s overall development and prosperity.

Having a leading figure within a community is incredibly important to the community’s overall development and prosperity. Community members may band together to create a better life for its inhabitants, but they will always need a strong character whose responsibility it is to make decisions, give direction and ensure a single-minded vision towards which to strive. While many of the skills involved in becoming a leader within your community could be innate and instinctual, every great leader has to learn leadership methodology and theory at some point. Stellenbosch Business School’s Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development can help you discover, unlock and nurture your leadership skills so that you can help your community grow and thrive.

Here are a few key aspects of a strong leader who is focused on community development.

Establishing the vision

Every community set on developing itself should be striving towards one clear goal – and the leader’s role in that is to keep everyone on track to achieving it. A strong leader maintains sight of this core vision throughout the community’s development.

Your vision answers the question: Where are we going? You need to be crystal clear in your definition of what that destination looks like, even if you do not yet know exactly how you will get there. This definition gives you and your team the ability to know exactly where you are located within the vision at any given time and whether you are getting closer to or further away from that destination.
[Source: Crestcom – ‘The 3 Secrets to Leadership Vision Success’]

One of the key outcomes of Stellenbosch Business School’s PGDip in Leadership Development is the ability to see the bigger picture – an important quality in staying true to the end goals for your community.

Social responsibility

The best outcomes of being a community leader are when the people within the community benefit from your leadership abilities. While you may acquire leadership and even career skills along the way, the goals you establish should not be self-serving. At the same time, you are not in your position to be a hero, aiming to solve every issue yourself. Getsmarter sees the changing role of leadership moving towards “hero teams, not hero leaders”. Sometimes the best thing to do is facilitate positive change through the advice and/or abilities of someone more capable within your community.

Ultimately, community leadership does not always require you to be the “fixer” – sometimes it’s about being the “linker”. The role of “community leader” is both a privilege and responsibility for those who find themselves in that position… It can also help to seek the advice of others – sometimes a different view can help shine a light on the right course of action.
[Source: Step Together – ‘Community leadership in today’s world’]

The PGDip in Leadership Development programme has a Leadership and Society module focused on achieving sustainable practices in society. It also identifies ways in which organisations can integrate responsibility and sustainability internally and collaborate with stakeholders externally to build a better world for all.

Strategic leadership skills

Strong community leaders don’t act or react without carefully considering the situation’s outcomes and potential consequences. To ensure positive outcomes when planning a way forward, a solid sense of strategic thinking is required to help navigate the community towards its goals and vision.

Strategic thinkers question the status quo. They challenge their own and others’ assumptions and encourage divergent points of view. Only after careful reflection and examination of a problem through many lenses do they take decisive action. This requires patience, courage, and an open mind.
[Source: Harvard Business Review – ‘Strategic Leadership: The Essential Skills’]

The PGDip in Leadership Development includes a Strategic Leadership module, which covers multiple frameworks for strategy development and execution, and the use of strategy to drive execution and alignment across any organisation you find yourself in.

Decision-making ability

A good community leader knows which route to take to reach community goals. And if the route does not exist, a brilliant leader will establish one. According to GBS Corporate Training, leadership training can result in better decision-making because leaders functioning at a high level of emotional intelligence have the perspective to make informed, intelligent business decisions.

According to a Global Coaching Client Study by ICF, 86% of the companies able to provide figures to calculate ROI from leadership training indicated they had at least made their investment back: 19% showed an ROI of at least 50 times (5000%) the initial investment, while a further 28% saw an ROI of 10 to 49 times the investment. “The median company return was 700%, indicating that typically a company can expect a return of seven times the initial investment,” ICF reported.
[Source: GBS Corporate Training – ‘The Top 10 Reasons to Take a Leadership Course’]

The PGDip in Leadership Development at Stellenbosch Business School is designed to help guide you towards becoming a responsible leader who can lead with confidence, a clear direction and elite decision-making skills. You will be encouraged to discover and develop your personal leadership style, enabling you to lead in a way that is authentic and true to you.

Effective conflict management

There are always various opinions and strong emotions at play within a community when deciding on its future. This means that conflict is virtually inevitable. The leader needs to be civil and diplomatic in handling the different perspectives to ensure the best outcomes for the community as a whole. At the same time, individual needs also need to be heard and considered.

Leaders are often challenged with navigating seamlessly through conflict. Identification of the conflicting source using a thorough assessment of the situation is essential.
[Source: National Diversity Council – ‘How leaders effectively manage conflict’]

Stellenbosch Business School’s PGDip in Leadership Development includes an elective module in Negotiation and Conflict Management, which offers comprehensive knowledge and understanding of conflict theory to analyse the origins and manifestations of conflict and conflict behaviour.

If you are in a leadership position in a community and are considering pursuing the best academic programme for you, find out more today about Stellenbosch Business School’s Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development. The core modules and electives are designed to strengthen your ability to lead a community towards prosperity. If you are more aligned to leadership within the not-for-profit sphere, you may want to discover more about Stellenbosch Business School’s Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development for NPOs.

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