What makes a great leader?

Reflections on the Resident Owned Community Leader Training from NeighborWorks Montana’s Assistant Director Kaia Peterson

What makes a great leader? This is one of the questions posed to leaders from resident-owned communities when they gathered in Great Falls last weekend. The 20 residents from across Montana were participating in a two-day training to give them new skills and connections to other resident leaders. Here is what they said:

  • Strong personality and charisma
  • Ethical and moral character

    Photo of Montana ROC leaders holding certificates following leadership training
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    Montana ROC leaders celebrate the completion of a statewide leadership training in Great Falls, Mont.
  • Lead by example
  • It’s not a position, it’s a way of life
  • Listen to hear, not to reply
  • Good speaker
  • Optimistic
  • Ability to follow through
  • Patience
  • Consistency

Mark Wilmarth of Vision West Consulting went on to ask more questions about leadership and the complexity of group dynamics as he facilitated a portion of the training with a focus on leadership and listening. Anyone who has been to a city council meeting or participated in a board meeting of any kind has likely experienced the challenges of working in a group. Leaders of resident owned communities manage these challenges every day as they navigate their neighborhood needs from barking dogs to new sewer connections to summer social gatherings.

As evidenced by the responses on leadership, these residents have a great handle on what makes a great leader. Now they return to the continuing work of being great leaders. We’re looking forward to seeing the impacts these leaders have on their communities in the coming year, and supporting their efforts.

Special thanks to NeighborWorks America, NeighborWorks Great Falls and Carol Bronson, ROC USA® and Gary Faucher, Cascade County Commissioner Jane Weber, and Mark Wilmarth of Vision West Consulting for their roles in making this training possible and successful.


Contact Kaia Peterson at KPeterson@nwmt.org.

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