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Developing Leadership Competencies in the Executive Seminar Program

Developing Leadership Competencies in the Executive Seminar Program

Through class readings, lectures and interaction with guest speakers and visiting leader, participants learn to recognize leadership attributes in themselves and others.  They come to understand that natural resource problems are wickedly complex, take a long time solve and require leading horizontally as well as vertically (or across as well as within organizations). We explore the role of science, science assessment and scientists in these challenging cases. Participants are encouraged to assess current leadership competencies and develop a Leadership Learning Plan with specific goals, actions and monitoring.


The quality of human leadership determines the fate of natural resources as surely as climate change or other natural forces. The Executive Seminar Program (ESP) examines real and current natural resource problems and opportunities and draws leadership lessons from them and from the practical application of leadership theory to them. In its depth of analysis, concentration on effective leadership, and integration of leadership theory it is a unique and “added value” experience for any career natural resource manager or scientist. The group of participants, drawn from a wide array of disciplines and field experience, along with the week-long immersion in a complex topic, provide a learning resource not found elsewhere.

-- Dr. John Gordon, Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Three Tiers of Skill Competency Development

Benefits to the Individual

  • Leadership development
  • Management training in problem solving
  • Communication skills
  • External relations
  • Inter-personal relations
  • Multi-cultural awareness
  • Coalition building
  • Dealing with change

Benefits to the Organization

  • State-of-the-art leadership techniques that help an organization achieve its mission
  • Problem-solving experience focused on natural resource issues
  • Comparative understanding of other organizations
  • Development of networks that foster problem-solving among participating organizations
  • Awareness of how different organizations approach policy issues

Benefits to Society

  • Training in collaborative decision-making
  • Leadership models applicable across jurisdictions
  • Development of value-based leadership in context marked by complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Finding effective models to resolve divisive regional natural resource issues
  • Improved ability to lead in creating and sustaining policy
  • Increased civic capacity for governing in the policy arena