Our communities need good leadership. Are you up to it? October 2011 is time for the next WA Council elections, in all 139 Council areas. I thought I’d be bold and suggest some attributes that might be valuable to a Councillor. If you are active in local clubs and groups and are concerned about our future, you might like to self-assess.
- Interest in long-term direction of your local community
- Listening skills, prepared to listen more often than to tell
- Prepared to meet with the community, often
- At least one, and often two or three evenings a week to dedicate to the community
- Able to read and understand a voluminous weekly information pack
- Ability to think strategically about organisational purpose
- Effective decision-making skills
- Understand the difference between individual and group decision-making
- Able to work to sustain long-term viability and define values for self and the Council
- Able to imagine and lead new future directions
- Able to discuss widely differing opinions respectfully and to disagree agreeably
- Able to synthesise direction amidst complexity and conflicting values and objectives
- Understand the difference between management and leadership (councillors have no executive authority at all)
- Not be focussed on a ‘single issue’
- Be prepared to assess your own biases and positions
- Ability to read and interpret financial reports
- Sense of humour
- Collaborative style
- Wide range of contacts and life experience
- Be well travelled and widely read
- An enquiring mind
- Risk assessment skills
- Open to continuous learning
GOOD TO HAVE
- Expertise in at least one relevant field, e.g. architecture, town planning, finance, environment, waste, law, social services, communications, psychology, science.
- Board experience
- Qualifications such as MBA, GAICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors)
- Preparedness to respond with good grace and respect in all sorts of circumstances
Please realise too that the maximum allowance for your work is just seven thousand dollars a year, so you really do have to be motivated by spirit. That amount was set in 1994 and never reviewed. For some more information about being a Councillor, the City of Gosnells has a useful web page here.
The vital point is that you can make a real difference to the present and future of your community.
Oh, and if you live in South Perth, don’t forget Tea and Talk in the Park, Sunday 15 May, 3 pm, McDougall Park
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