Australian Rural Leadership Program - ARLP Course 19

Published 29 Oct 2013 
Bayley, luke with bruce gowrie-smith<br/> Bayley, luke with bruce gowrie-smith
Bayley, luke with dr wendy craik<br/> Bayley, luke with dr wendy craik
Community and nfp<br/> Community and nfp

I recently completed the Australian Rural Leadership Program – Course 19.

The Australian Rural Leadership Program is rural Australia’s iconic leadership development program. It is a 59 day program, delivered in six sessions over 17 months. Five of these sessions take place in locations across Australia, and one component takes place overseas – in my case a 4 week trip to India.  The course costs $59,400 and I was fortunate enough to receive financial sponsorship from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF). The VFFF sponsor two people to undertake this program each year.

The  Australian Rural Leadership Program has been going for 20 years and aims to produce a network of informed, capable and ethical leaders who are able to work collaboratively to advance the interests of their industries, businesses, communities and rural Australia in general.  Over the length of the program I have made many great friends and contacts from  across rural Australia including livestock feed-lot owners in Dalby, live exporters in Darwin,  and Health workers in the Torres Strait to name a few. I have certainly met some amazing people doing this program and they have all taught and inspired me.

The program works to improve the capacity of rural leaders to engage wherever a challenge is best addressed and wherever they can contribute most effectively. This may be within communities and industries, in the political arena or in team-based roles.

A huge thanks to Bush Heritage Management for supporting my participation on this program.

  • Go easy in the beginning. A bad start is difficult to overcome. Most people make judgments on relatively minor aspects of behavior and attitude
  • Learn all you can about your associates. Get to know their concerns. Friends, enemies, ideas, requirements, and biases. Learn by listening. Speak their language, not your own
  • Respect your unit commanders. Deal with them directly on matters of importance. Never go around your subordinates
  • Win and keep the confidences of your supporters. Do not discourage ideas, but make sure you can control the outcome of events
  • Remain in communication with your group
  • Do not get too close to your subordinates. Disclosing your weaknesses through familiarity only serves to undermine your authority.
  • Hold yourself above the level of your subordinates and the subordinates of your peers. Precedence is a serious matter in most organisations, so put yourself on the highest possible level.
  • The ideal position is when you are able to lead without being intrusive. Do not become to intimate, too prominent, or to earnest. Maintain prestige and control.
  • Magnify your image and that of your fellow executives. Assure that the merit of leaders is well known.
  • Show respect when addressing leaders. Be somewhat distant, although polite, with lower level individuals.
  • An outsider is generally not popular with people. When you must, keep a strongly based insider in front of you as a shield.
  • Cling tightly to your sense of humour
  • Never argue or display negative emotions in public; you may degrade yourself.
  • People are generally difficult to drive, but easy to lead, if you have patience with them.
  • Do not try to do too much yourself. It is better to allow people to do their own work reasonably well than for you to do it for them perfectly, even assuming you can.
  • A well placed compliment is the most effective way to win someone over – Always repay a good deed in kind. But do not fawn over people; they will lose respect for you.
  • Dress in a manner preferred by your customers and superiors
  • Leaders are like actors on a stage. To be successful requires constant attention to the part you are playing.
  • Wear and use the best. Clothes and accessories are important tokens of status.
  • Adopt the customs of those you intend to influence
  • People are heavily attracted to their biases. Avoid criticism.
  • Your constituents have their own ways of solving problems and dealing with situations generally through learned experience. Take the best from their methods and use it in conjunction with the best from yours.
  • When objections to your ideas are raised by your constituents, be sure you understand the reasoning behind these objections completely. People will not necessarily tell you everything they are thinking. Get to the root of the problem.
  • Do not ask people with differing philosophies, backgrounds and work ethics to mix together effectively
  • Choose your closest associates carefully. They are reflections of your judgment and character for all to see.
  • The beginning and the end of the secret of leading people is constant study of them. Keep always on your guard; never say an unnecessary thing. Watch yourself and your associates at all times. Hear all that passes; search out what is going on beneath the surface. Read character; discover weakness and strength; seek understanding, but keep what you learn to yourself. Bury yourself in the concerns of your constituents, have no interest and no ideas except the work at hand. Your success will be apportioned according to the amount of mental effort you devote to it.

Any  Bush Heritage staff interested in finding how they could apply to participate in the Australian  Rural Leadership Program can find more information at

Bayley, luke with bruce gowrie-smith<br/> Bayley, luke with bruce gowrie-smith
Bayley, luke with dr wendy craik<br/> Bayley, luke with dr wendy craik
Community and nfp<br/> Community and nfp