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You do what?


Whether you're in a "leadership" position or are leading from another spot in the organization, everyone has responsibilities. Responsibilities to understand the requirements of leading that help everyone with expectation setting. If part of your duties include caring for others, the following likely show up in your everyday collaborations!


Primary Leadership Tasks

  • Vision – Set the general tone, direction
  • Management – Set goals and focus resources
  • Empowerment – Select and develop direct reports
  • Diplomacy – Forge coalitions
  • Feedback – Observe, listen, share information
  • Entrepreneurialism – Find future opportunities


  • Help clarify the overall goals of the organization/team/individual
  • It is readily understandable
  • It is a stretch, but attainable
  • It has a focusing quality
  • It serves to create cohesion among different constituencies


  • To secure resources
  • To focus these resources on the organization’s goals
  • To organize information to reflect progress towards these goals
  • To use this information for external accountability


  • To select, develop and retain organizational members committed to the goals
  • To especially do this for members more knowledgeable than the leader about important technical areas
  • To delegate sufficient responsibility and the commensurate authority to those who will become the next generation of leaders


  • To protect the organization’s future by building coalitions with peers, managers, and important outside decision makers
  • To provide diplomatic, that is, “win-win” solutions in conflictual situations
  • To create a reservoir of trust and mutual respect that can be drawn on in the future


  • To listen carefully to all concerned
  • To organize the resultant feedback to provide constructive comments for future courses of action
  • To provide motivational and development opportunities, based on feedback


  • To set a climate for the production and nurturance of new ideas
  • To protect original thinkers from the status quo
  • To find resources for new ideas
  • To reward, not punish, “thinking out of the box” and the courage to create a new box


  • Personal Style – Set a tone of competence, optimism, integrity, and inspiration
  • Personal Energy – Live disciplined, balanced lifestyle
  • Multicultural Awareness – Be confident & comfortable working across geographic, demographic, and cultural borders

Personal Style

  • To demonstrate competence in the organization’s core activities
  • To inspire through noble actions
  • To be optimistic, “to spread hope”
  • To act visibly and invisibly in honest, ethical, and trustworthy ways

Personal Energy

  • To be active and enthusiastic, to work energetically
  • To live a healthy life including a balanced diet, weight control, regular exercise and freedom from troublesome addictions

Multicultural Awareness

  • To recognize and appropriately celebrate the differences between demographic, religious, and ethnic groups
  • To value each individual for their individual characteristics and potential
  • To diplomatically facilitate teamwork between individuals and groups with diverse characteristics

Pretty cool stuff right?!  Wish I came up with them 😉  Want to see how you're doing in each of these areas?  You can!  This little overview is of the Campbell Leadership Descriptor which is a self-assessment designed to help individuals identify the essential characteristics of successful leadership. Take the assessment for yourself or with your team!

Leadership development starts with self: self awareness through reflection and insight that will lead to development and change!

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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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