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Top 5!


Peter Drucker says regardless of our inherent personality traits, gifts, or talents; we can all become effective leaders. After all, it's this journey that's essential for the success of our communities, organizations, and teams

Here's a "handful" of reminders!

1. Leadership is Relational

Early in my coaching career, an experienced colleague on our staff told me not to get too close to the players. What became apparent quickly was that this wasn't my style. If you aren't willing to give all of yourself toward the cause, other people aren't going to either. You go all in for each other! There is no wasted time getting to know one another to support a positive culture. Giving and receiving gratitude for everyone's contributions strengthens collaboration and helps morale soar.

2. Leadership is your Behaviors

Leadership is influence. Our influence is felt through the behaviors we display consistently. Our behaviors are the realization of our core values. How you authentically show who you want to be inspires others to become who they aspire to be. In our organizations and on our teams, we have to find the courage to model the behaviors we want to see repeated. Instead of looking out of the window, look in the mirror. It starts with you!

3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

Haven't met a person yet who left a job because they received too much communication. This is the foundation of sustaining the alignment of collective employee talents alongside organizational goals. Overstate for clarity why the organization exists, who you serve, and encourage consistent dialogue. Transparency is paramount to fostering great relationships and teamwork. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Listen, learn, and let them lead!

4. Delegate to Initiate

When you're experiencing frustration and procrastination it's time to collaborate to redelegate. When what people are asked to do is primarily aligned with their strengths it taps into their natural motivations. Getting to know our team members' gifts and talents our natural response is to collaborate. Providing the opportunity to grow everyone's strengths solidifies ownership of responsibilities, enhances productivity, fosters innovation, and boosts morale.

5. Lifelong Learning

Your road to effective leadership is paved with consistent growth. Staying in touch with your natural curiosity, and increasing self-awareness through feedback enhances applicable knowledge, skills, and abilities. The investment in your personal and professional development is always time well spent. Your example encourages a culture of running experiments by taking appropriate risks helps the team adapt quickly to challenges and take advantage of opportunities.

No list incorporates everything we need to know about being the best leader we can be. Most of what's here you already know, it's just nice for us to get reminders every once in a while. Through reflection on these principles and application into your approach, you will engage and inspire others. By helping others reach their full potential we can move away from surviving and start thriving together!

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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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