Agricultural professionals learn to be leaders

Martin Cuddihy, Trafalgar Station (left) and Allan Parker role-playing during the workshop.

RENOWNED Australian behavioural scientist Allan Parker, OAM, is guiding agricultural professionals through an accelerated program to learn how to excel as influential leaders.

With an emphasis on frameworks and techniques to help broaden perspectives in family and business negotiations, 44 participants completed two days of theory and practical scenarios around conversation, conflict resolution, questioning and body language.

NQ Dry Tropics hosted the Negotiating Change and Leadership workshop through the Enhanced Extension Coordination project, funded by the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Program.

The workshop was held in Townsville in June and was the first in a four part series that will be held over the next nine months.

Mr Parker, managing director of Sydney-based company Peak Performance Development, said negotiation was essentially an exercise in communication.

“This group can grow exponentially by focusing on language – the words, how they are used and how they are delivered,” Mr Parker said.   

“Conversations are discussions with inquiry, and there are unique ways we can turn everyday conversations into productive, meaningful and rewarding interactions. Our choice of words and the non-verbal delivery of these plays the most significant role. ”

Attendees also learned a range of methods to prevent disputes.

“Conflict resolution is difficult because the desire for comfort sabotages performance and progress,” Mr Parker said.

“Early intervention is key in achieving better outcomes, by learning the skills to navigate conflict, participants will improve negotiation and compromise in their businesses,” he said.

Event organiser NQ Dry Tropics Senior Grazing Officer Linda Anderson said attendees included community group representatives, natural resource management and government extension officers, and farmers.

“A unique aspect of this program is that participants are learning techniques to negotiate projects that deliver tailored approaches to best practice adoption and innovation to improve water quality and protect the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Anderson said.

“It’s challenging extension officers to adapt thinking towards interactions that effectively achieve better outcomes with and for our project partners, including farmers.

“Allan provided frameworks and supported these by impromptu role playing of different scenarios in a way to increase confidence in using these tools in our everyday work and personal lives.

“The focus is to invite innovation into our industry, rather than stifling it with traditionl paradigms,” she said.

The workshop will be followed by three Experimental Laboratory workshops that will extend and reinforce learning to become effective leaders for the agricultural industry and local community.