Skip to main content

Your Leadership Puzzle (Part 2)


Every day we encounter a myriad of issues that can make leadership puzzling.  One of these is the pace of change.  The world is changing at a speed faster than humans have ever experienced before due largely to technological advances.  This fact alone makes our leadership foothold paramount to balancing the needs of the people & enterprise we serve.  Some of the same themes keep appearing.  The human skills we often don’t realize we’re utilizing.  Awareness is the key for those who’ve decided to focus on helping others.  Here are some ideas on the “C’s”…


Think about the best boss you ever had.  My bet is they never lost faith in you.  They gave you their best so you could be at your best.  Whatever their personal style, they knew how to connect with others in order to help develop their talents into strengths.  Figuring out our individual approach is critical.  Asking for meaningful feedback can be hard but taking it to heart proves even more difficult.  When are we at our best?  Remember the best you experienced & discover how you’re going to be the best.  Strive to be the best boss you ever had & your coaching will emerge!


It takes a lot of this to navigate today's work/life challenges.  The ability to truly embrace change with an open mind can be tough.  Great ideas have a shelf life & the things we are doing now started as great ideas once. Creating the environment to listen & accept new conceptual thoughts that challenge old ideas is the key to moving forward.  Deciding what to change and what continuity piece to keep helps avoid chaos.


A mentor of mine shared this thought:  When a coach/teacher stops being actively involved with a person’s development it’s not that they don’t care it’s just they realized the person has stopped caring.  There are many reasons for this of course.  This doesn’t mean the coach has given up on the individual.  There’s simply an engagement issue or they are ready for someone else to assist with meaningful growth.  They need a new challenge. Hook them up with their next great coach or opportunity.  Time will prove the value you had on their development.  Courageously caring for others is always worth the energy!


Everyone we come in contact with is struggling with something we know nothing about...unless we ask.  Displaying this trait will provide the glue to keep the team together.  For me, it’s slowing down to listen.  Listening as intently as we desire to share conveys kindness.  Seek first to understand then be understood.  Displaying a degree of gratitude also shows we appreciate their efforts.  Connecting what they’re good at to the work equals maximum engagement.  After all, we are human beings not human doings, right?


From a very early age our foundation for life is forged.  This is often referred to & described as our character.  This is where we must stand tough for what we truly believe in.  Discover & re-discover what it is we really value & model it in everything we do.  This will lead to what we’ll stand up for.  These intellectual differences are the true diversity we need to have patience to understand.  The perseverance to find mutual connection points leads to trust in any organization.

The farther away from “doing” we get in our careers the less relevant we become to the enterprise we serve.  Not being relevant can be scary because we tie so much of our worth to knowledge gained & accomplishments of yesterday.  For organizations to survive long after we’ve gone, creating & inspiring new leaders must be the goal.

"I can’t accept not trying!”   -Michael Jordan

Take some shots.  Missing a few along the way will teach you a ton & inspire others to do the same!

Add Comment

Comments (0)


About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation is a non-profit designed to be the engine fueling U.S. Cooperative Extension’s advancement in making a more visible and measurable impact in support of education outreach from land-grant universities/colleges located in every state and territory. Extension Foundation is embedded in the U.S. Cooperative Extension System and serves on the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). The Foundation provides an array of opportunities for Extension professionals that foster innovation creation, the adoption of innovations at member institutions, and increased impact of Extension programs. This work is supported by your membership dollars and funding from USDA-NIFA, grant no. 2020-41595-30123. For more information on Extension Foundation membership, please visit You can also find our Terms of Servicee here

© 2021 Extension Foundation. All rights reserved.

Link copied to your clipboard.