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Conserv Biol. 2009 Aug;23(4):879-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01150.x. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

Leadership: a new frontier in conservation science.

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1
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN 55155-4002, USA. jim.manolis@dnr.state.mn.us

Abstract

Leadership is a critical tool for expanding the influence of conservation science, but recent advances in leadership concepts and practice remain underutilized by conservation scientists. Furthermore, an explicit conceptual foundation and definition of leadership in conservation science are not available in the literature. Here we drew on our diverse leadership experiences, our reading of leadership literature, and discussions with selected conservation science leaders to define conservation-science leadership, summarize an exploratory set of leadership principles that are applicable to conservation science, and recommend actions to expand leadership capacity among conservation scientists and practitioners. We define 2 types of conservation-science leadership: shaping conservation science through path-breaking research, and advancing the integration of conservation science into policy, management, and society at large. We focused on the second, integrative type of leadership because we believe it presents the greatest opportunity for improving conservation effectiveness. We identified 8 leadership principles derived mainly from the "adaptive leadership" literature: recognize the social dimension of the problem; cycle frequently through action and reflection; get and maintain attention; combine strengths of multiple leaders; extend your reach through networks of relationships; strategically time your effort; nurture productive conflict; and cultivate diversity. Conservation scientists and practitioners should strive to develop themselves as leaders, and the Society for Conservation Biology, conservation organizations, and academia should support this effort through professional development, mentoring, teaching, and research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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