Why nothing is ever done in this city!

A diverse group rewarded by a municipal council

How can elected officials and board members be more open to new ideas and more effective? Photo of the city of Bryan, Texas.

By Paula Jensen

Having a passion for the development and leadership of rural communities is the driving force of my personal and professional life. My personal vision statement reads as follows:I will be a clear voice for people and rural places by mobilizing and empowering rural change actors to build vibrant communities. " It took me many years, a lot of support, a lot of personal and professional growth and many mistakes to realize this vision.

As a new rural community leader, I had a turning point in 1999, at the age of 32, when I was sworn in as the first woman to sit on the city council of my hometown. 113 years old.

My duties as mayor and mayor of my community have enabled me to develop leadership and management skills in an organic way. I was strengthened by the knowledge and understanding that I gained. As a learner, I looked for innovative ways to accomplish things in our community by involving residents and looking for new resources that often posed problems to my fellow administrators, but m & # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # 39, helped to support our success as the community grew and grew.

I am grateful for these five years of opportunity in the municipal government, as they have built my foundation as a new leader. I was offered new opportunities that allowed me to graduate from Leadership Plenty, to co-found a regional economic development organization, to create a community daycare center, to create a community foundation, and create a new career for myself as a writer / scholar and community economist. professional development in the non-profit sector.

Committed, diverse and collaborative leadership is an essential element of vibrant communities, but also a missing link in many of our small rural communities. In order to maintain the vitality of these small communities and to advance the future of rural areas, we must put emphasis on strengthening our local leadership capacity.

Statistics show that the prospect of serving as a rural leader in South Dakota, where I live, is 1:27, compared to 1:57 in our urban centers. However, the current scenario of rural leadership can be described by this familiar story: someone has a great idea for getting involved in a community project, but nobody wants to take the lead for success and success. Too often, they derive from these good ideas only a few meetings of working groups and many frustrated residents who profess, "Nothing is ever done!" When this destructive cycle is set in motion, it is difficult to involve people and motivate them for the future of their communities or rural areas as a whole.

The need for new rural leaders to rise is great. According to the Center for Small Towns, South Dakota needs 357 new leaders each year. When we identify good leaders in a community, they are invaluable and often exhausted to the point of being exhausted. Therefore, we need to have ongoing support, tools and resources for existing leaders while developing emerging leaders.

Another important step in the development of emerging leaders in our rural communities is to develop a leadership philosophy centered on building communities and shared leadership for two main reasons: 1) the growing complexity of problems in rural communities does not lead easy solutions. A leader can not filter all available information to solve problems; he must therefore rely on the experience of other leaders in the community. and 2) an increasing number of people in communities are no longer content to be followers, but wish to share responsibilities and decisions.

We must all believe that each of our rural communities has unique flair, history and culture, economic opportunities, caring neighbors, excellent quality of life, leaders who believe in strategic thinking, ideation and innovation, stimulating conversation, motivated residents, a valuable asset base, and understanding that leadership development begins at home. #Irrural

Learn more about how local leaders can be effective shared leaders and how the community can support them in our current video Officials and Friendly Tips for the Idea.

About Paula Jensen

Paula Jensen's passion for personal and professional life is her passion for community development and leadership. Paula resides in her home town of Langford, South Dakota, whose population is over 318 years old. She is a grant writer and community coach for Dakota Resources, based in Renner, South Dakota. Dakota Resources is a 501c3 community development financial institution that aims to stimulate financial and human investment in rural communities that invest in their communities. Contact her at [email protected]

  • Why nothing is ever done in this city! – 12th of October 2019
  • Wishing vs hoping that your city will improve – 27 July 2019
  • What is the life expectancy of our community? – 22 June 2019
  • We have already tried this and it did not work! – May 26, 2019
  • If they want to lead, give them the power to lead 27th April 2019
  • Do all the small towns die? Can you save a small town? – March 23, 2019
  • Is your company on the map? – 23 February 2019
  • The secret ingredient of a winning team – 26 January 2019
  • The stereotype of the small town: Old White Guys in charge, stuck in the past – December 22, 2018
  • Raise your voice for rural communities 24th November 2018

<! –