Growing as a Water Leader: Beware of Six Traps


André Taylor has worked as a leadership development specialist over the last 10 years to build the leadership capacity of water practitioners so they can initiate and drive positive change. He has worked closely with several hundred developing water leaders from around the world through a variety of leadership development programs and short courses, and has conducted over 500 coaching sessions.

A consequence of this experience has been the identification of a number of common patterns of behaviour that emerging water leaders exhibit as they seek to grow as leaders. These patterns are surprisingly similar given they occur in people working in different geographic locations, organisations, professional roles, and cultures. In this paper, these patterns are referred to as leadership-related “traps”, as they represent barriers to growth.

This paper, Growing as a Water Leader: Beware of Six Traps, describes six of the most common traps that can significantly hinder the ability of water leaders to grow their leadership capacity and improve their leadership effectiveness. It also explains why these traps are a problem and provides practical advice on avoiding or minimising the impact of them using guidance from the leadership development literature as well as the André’s experience of working closely with these people and evaluating the results. This guidance should assist developing water leaders directly, as well as people who nurture such leaders such as supervisors, mentors, and leadership development specialists.