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Building Water Leadership Capacity: a short course for consultancy staff

IWC believes most ‘effective water leaders’ need a combination of technical (understanding), management (organising) and leadership (influencing) abilities, in addition to enabling contexts (e.g. collaborative colleagues and adequate resources).

Achieving this balance of abilities requires professionals to become 'T-shaped water professionals' - leaders with detailed expertise as well as this broad set of knowledge and skills.

From March to October this year, IWC ran an eight-month course to help water leaders achieve this goal.

The course was custom designed for seven staff of Alluvium, a consultancy firm that specialises in the protection, rehabilitation and restoration of rivers and catchments. It also drew on aspects IWC’s award-winning Water Leadership Program and Master of Integrated Water Management.

The course strengthened participants' leadership capacity to supplement their existing technical and management competencies and help them to effectively exercise influence, initiate and enable change, tackle complex challenges and advance more integrated forms of water management.



"For me this course was life changing, because I now have hugely improved self-awareness and greater clarity of personal values," one participant said. "I no longer take negative comments as criticism, but see them as a gift and a way to improve. I am now in charge of my own career destiny."

"I see this as a starting point from which I can continue to learn and that the topics covered are also applicable beyond the workplace," said another participant. "Even some of the simple exercises can be uncomfortable to identify some of your leadership characteristics - strengths and shortcomings - but the reflection is worth it if you really want to improve."

Topics addressed within the course included:

  • Self-leadership
  • Transformational leadership
  • The project champion (key change agent) leadership role
  • The team leadership role
  • The enabling leadership role
  • Power and influence
  • Principles and methods  of leadership development
  • Systems thinking – an introduction and tools (e.g. diagramming techniques)
  • Understanding complex situations
  • Building an individual leadership development plan
  • Building resilience and managing stress
  • Social networking
  • Time management
  • Key communication skills for leaders (e.g. active listening and giving feedback)
  • Fostering creativity and innovation


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