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As an Industry are we Developing Future Leaders?

By Erika Osmundson, Marketing and Communications Manager


The agriculture industry is facing many changes from an aging workforce to consolidation, and a diverse talent pool to an evolving industry.  We know that people are imperative, but how well are we preparing them for what lies ahead?


In a recent survey done by The Ken Blanchard Companies, when looking at the importance of different types of training for new managers, leadership training was listed as the second most needed training among the 400 managers interviewed.*   You’ll notice many of the other skills listed as important are also crucial for managers to be successful.


Surprisingly, the survey also shared that less than 40% of respondents had actually received training.  This is scary!  As the pipeline of talent shifts, the importance of grooming new leaders will be imperative for business success.  Developing leaders through training is key!


In the upcoming Leadership Enhancement course offered by, November 16 - 17 in Omaha, NE, we will address developing leaders.  If you are a new manager or a seasoned leader needing a recharge, this workshop covers many critical aspects through theory and hands-on learning to enhance your leadership abilities.


Below is just a small sample of a high-level look at the type of training covered in this valuable course.


Leadership Styles


Social psychologist, Douglas McGregor, has done extensive research on the types of leaders and identified the two extremes of management style that are often referred to in leadership training courses.  They are the X and Y manager, which are derived from the manager’s beliefs and culture that they work in.


An extreme X manager is more of a dictator, they feel that people need to be pushed to work and manage through discipline and control.  This manager rules with an ‘iron fist.’  They make the decisions and manage people by instilling fear and structure.  In a setting of brainstorming, this manager would rule the conversation and negate or degrade any other suggestions provided.


An extreme Y manager believes that people naturally want to do their job and will excel when given responsibility and freedom to do so.  They are sometimes considered spineless and easily taken advantage of.  These managers often lack accountability and offer unwarranted praise.  In a brainstorming session, this manager would praise all ideas (good or bad) and not be able to help the group come to a conclusion.


There is not a ‘best’ style.  We know that sometimes there are times when you need to be more assertive with employees and take an ‘x’ approach.  However, in certain situations, a ‘y’ approach may be more appropriate.  The goal is to land somewhere in the middle or have a small range on the continuum.   Working from the middle, managers might help employees identify what the problem/objectives are and then seek recommendations from staff before deciding.  Or, they may listen to solutions to a problem provided by an employee and offer up additional ideas and/or provide a recommendation.  They may join their staff in the decision or problem-solving process of a project.


To learn more about leadership styles, motivation, accountability, delegation and so much more, register to attend the Leadership Enhancement Course, November 16 - 17 in Omaha, NE.  Be sure to pass along this wonderful opportunity to colleagues within your organization or peers within the industry.  Let’s change the poor statistics of our managers not getting the training they need to succeed!


*Those surveyed were not specific to the agriculture industry, but rather a broader reach of industry sectors.