Last fall I applied and was accepted into the inaugural Montana Stockgrowers Leadership Series, which is a year-long “class” that will help mentor and develop fourteen young ag leaders from across the state of Montana.
As you all know, I am a born and bred cattle woman. I eat, sleep and breathe cows, and I want to make sure that my daughter has every opportunity to carry on this lifestyle and keep this ranch in the family for years to come. Therefore, I have been working on stepping up and getting involved in ag advocacy for the past few years. I have recently become a Director for the Marias River Livestock Association, I am a 4-H Cloverbud leader, and I have been working on establishing a CattleWomen association in my area.
The Leadership Series is a perfect opportunity for me to focus my energy and hone my skills as a leader, as well as being the perfect place to network with fellow lovers of ag from all over Montana.
We are now four months into the program, and I have come to realize several things about what true leadership is to me. I have also had to some serious soul searching, and admit to myself some things that I really didn’t want to admit to.
I could go on and on about the things that I am not, and the things I suck at as a leader. HOWEVER, our insanely wonderful and slightly crazy leadership coach has impressed on us NUMEROUS times that we do not need to focus on what we aren’t – we need to focus on what we are.
So here are some things that I know to be true about my leadership skills:
- I am bossy. I know what needs to be done, and I know who needs to do it. I have no problem giving orders, and I expect things to be done in a timely manner, and done right.
- I work hard. When there’s a job to be done, I don’t quit when I’m tired, I quit when I’m done. A good leader doesn’t just give orders; a good leader gets her hands dirty.
- I’m stubborn. I’m not going to take no for an answer, and when I get a great idea, I get after it, no matter the obstacle.
- I love to learn. I love learning about everything, and that comes in handy when I take on a project I’m not 100% familiar with, or when a new issue comes up.
- I’m a good listener. I always have an ear to lend for a friend, and I am learning to listen to the “other side” – the people that oppose ag, or certain ag practices, etc. In order to be a great advocate for our ag community, I need to be able to listen to the concerns of our consumers and look at things from their point of view.
This Series has been eye opening to me in many ways, and I have made a plethora of new friends along the way. I cannot wait to see what Sarah and Ryan (our coaches) have in store for us in the coming months.
I am hoping that this program will continue well into the future, and I encourage every young rancher in Montana to apply next year. You won’t regret it for a second.
Until next time,