Exploring the development of humble leaders in the context of agriculture
The complexity of the world today requires leadership that is interconnected rather than self-serving. This is particularly important within the context of agriculture, a field at the forefront of the complex problems associated with the impact of climate change. In recent years, the role virtues play in effective leadership has gained a significant amount of attention. One particular virtue that has seen increased attention in the leadership research is humility. Humility has been identified as a way to counteract the negative outcomes of self-serving leadership, namely, unethical practices and leader narcissism. Over the past several decades, researchers and scholars have begun to shed light on the many benefits this elusive virtue brings to leadership, however, many questions remain, notably, “How do humble leaders develop their leadership?” The present qualitative study found that humble agriculture leaders develop their leadership style through (a) the development of strong personal values, (b) investments in human and social capital, and (c) supportive feedback. The findings from this research provide recommendations for agricultural leadership educators to consider when building leadership programs that have the goal of developing humble leaders ready to address complex problems in the context of agriculture and natural resources.
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