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Leadership Priorities


"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly."
-Jim Rohn

Strong Not Rude

“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.”  -Vince Lombardi

Our strength is shown in relationships with others. Leadership is about effective relationships. It's about honoring people over process to unlock everyone's strengths!

Kind Not Weak

"Clear is kind." -Brene' Brown

People leave organizations because of poor leadership. They don't leave because of receiving too much communication. We don't "get" clarity we're always seeking it. To get to a meaningful place together, everyone's voice is valuable.

Bold Not Bully

"I am convinced that courage is the most important of all the virtues. Because without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue consistently. But it is only with courage that you can be persistently and insistently kind and generous and fair."  -Maya Angelou

Leadership is not a position, rank or title. It lives in our behaviors. None of us is a good enough actor to hide our insecurities and true feelings, eventually they come out. Leadership behavior is the way we display empathy for ourselves and others.

Thoughtful Not Lazy

"Innovation takes time, time to dream, time to reflect, time to learn, time to invent and experiment; uninterrupted time when you can daydream!"
-Gary Hamel, What Matters Now

Time is the best gift we can give others. Be purposeful about personal development. We should spend just as much time becoming professionals at what we do as who we want to be. The gift of time will yield results the science of management tells us are not possible.

Humble Not Timid

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."
-C.S. Lewis

Holding back our talents and the gifts of others isn't displaying humility, it's preventing the team from collaborating effectively. Play to everyone's strengths.

Proud Not Arrogant

Being "certain" about anything doesn't leave room for the agility needed in today's work environment. Aligning what we say with what we do makes it possible to step into the best version of ourselves.

At the end of each day we will likely have many questions. The only one that's truly ours to answer is: Did I do my best today? If the answer is "yes" you can be proud of yourself. Get some rest and go again tomorrow.

Humor Not Folly

"Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place."  -Mark Twain

Laughter helps relieve the natural friction, confusion and disengagement we can experience in our work together. Learning how to combine our talents is an ongoing challenge. When we inspire a growth mindset it necessarily creates space to accept the messiness of the journey. This learning is better with laughter.

Priorities Not Balance

Chasing "balance" is almost impossible. It's a fool's errand. Instead chase priorities. It's in these choices we honor our best contributions and give space for others to do the same.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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