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The Global Context of Environmental Leadership: Essential Skills for the Twenty-first Century

Journal of Organization and Human Behaviour

Volume 1 Issue 1

Published: 2012
Author(s) Name: Leslie E. Wildesen
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Abstract

Environmental problems typically display global implications, long time frames, incomplete science, emotional contexts, and complex solutions. Environmental leaders need specific skills if they hope to solve – or prevent – these problems. They need four categories of skills: (1) self-knowledge and self-management skills, because unless they know their strengths and weaknesses they cannot manage effectively; (2) relational skills, because they must deal with other scientists, donors and patrons, politicians, and the public; (3) strategic skills, because they must plan and execute complex and detailed programmes and actions to achieve their visions and desired outcomes; and (4) systemic skills, because they operate within a systemic framework that includes the people, the culture, the legal framework and rules, the budgets, the physical environment, the economy, and the overall context of the specific action or programme of actions. All of these skills can be taught, and they can be incorporated into an integrated training programme for current and future environmental leaders. This paper describes the content and structure of one such program, originally developed for the Smithsonian Institution in the USA, and now available internationally.

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