Helen Gerrard, MG Corporation Board Director (2012), explains how MG Corporation is governed She talks about how it’s changed over time and how it represents different groups through the Dawang Council “Wi...
- 01 Understanding governance
- 02 Culture and governance
- 03 Getting Started
- 04 Leadership
05 Governing the organisation
- 5.0 Governing the organisation
- 5.1 Roles, responsibilities and rights of a governing body
- 5.2 Accountability: what is it, to whom and how?
- 5.3 Decision making by the governing body
- 5.4 Governing finances and resources
- 5.5 Communicating
- 5.6 Future planning
- 5.7 Building capacity and confidence for governing bodies
- 5.8 Case Studies
- 06 Rules and policies
- 07 Management and staff
08 Disputes and complaints
- 8.0 Disputes and complaints
- 8.1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous approaches
- 8.2 Core principles and skills for dispute and complaint resolution
- 8.3 Disputes and complaints about governance
- 8.4 Your members: Dealing with disputes and complaints
- 8.5 Organisations: dealing with internal disputes and complaints
- 8.6 Practical guidelines and approaches
- 8.7 Case Studies
- 09 Governance for nation rebuilding
- Governance Stories
- Useful links
- Preview new Toolkit
4.5 Building leadership capacity to govern
4.5.1 What is capacity development?
“Capacity building is about regeneration of our communities from the inside out—communities renewing themselves by identifying, appreciating and using their assets …
Each individual and organisation is a resource on which to build.”
(Mick Dodson, Chair Indigenous Governance Awards)
Martumili Artists, Parngurr, Western Australia. Image, Wayne Quilliam.
Definition: Capacity development is ‘the process by which individuals, groups, organisations, institutions, societies and countries develop their abilities, individually and collectively, to perform functions, solve problems, set and achieve objectives, and understand and deal with their development needs in a broader context and in a sustainable manner’ (United Nations Development Programme 1997).
Capacity development or capacity building is all about helping people develop their own capabilities so that they can achieve their goals.
It is about giving people the chance to improve and strengthen their skills so they can perform tasks better and become more independent.
Capacity building is much more than just formal training, and the capacity to govern requires particular kinds of knowledge, skills and experience from leaders.
There may be many other capacities you can identify as important for your leaders. Consider putting together a list that applies to your situation.
|The capacity to work with others||
|The capacity to define a vision and consensus||
|The capacity to create and enforce rules and strategies||
|The capacity to manage||
|The capacity to assess and implement plans and goals||
|The capacity to provide and support strong local leadership||
4.5.2 Developing a leader’s capacity to govern
Leadership for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance is a specialist area of knowledge and expertise.
As a leader, developing your capacity to govern is more than just a matter of personal development.
It requires building shared values, attitudes, ways of behaving, and acquiring the specialist abilities that are needed to do the collective job of governing.
First it must start with developing strong cultural values and confidence:
“… imbuing young people with a strong sense of their culture and identity gives them the best chance of finding their way in the world. Embedding culture in communities and young people is a form of Indigenous investment. [Indigenous] people … invest their knowledge, time and resources in young people because they know no one else, not teachers, or social workers or governments, can give what they give.”
(Mick Dodson, ‘Indigenous governance: Self-determination in action’ Reconciliation News No 25, December 2012, page 11)
However, having a strong cultural identity and recognition as a leader must be supported by the practical ability to get things done on behalf of others.
If future leaders are to govern their nations and organisations well, they will need to have access to the right tools, skills, experience and knowledge to carry out these responsibilities.
Three specific areas of capacity development for youth ‘governance leadership’ are central to a cultural reinvestment in youth. They are:
- opportunities for youth representation and participation in governance, such as decision making, planning and youth councils
- place-based work experience in communities and organisations that focus on the practical aspects of governing
- governance training, education and mentoring opportunities
Bringing younger people along to negotiations, high-level meetings and conferences, and involving them in your strategic planning and decision making are important ways to develop future leaders.
The benefits for the young people are obvious, and these individuals have much to contribute as they add energy, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective.
This strategy of shadowing alongside a leader needs to become a routine part of the work of senior leaders, so that upcoming generations are exposed to critical experiences, can build their own skills, and can acquire the trust and recognition they will need from their own people.
The Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC) is the only provider of accredited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership training courses that focus on ‘leadership for governance’ in Australia. The AILC was established as a registered training organisation in 2005 and offers accredited courses in Indigenous leadership, and non-accredited short courses in specific leadership and mentoring skills. You can read more about the AILC by visiting its website: www.ailc.org.au.
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