A survey of attitudes of agricultural society leaders toward leadership development education
Elfving, Beverley Brown.
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It was the purpose of this study to investigate attitudes toward leadership development education of one client group served by the ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The survey, answered by 175 participants, attempted to answer the following questions: (a) What is a common definition of leadership?, (b) What leadership concepts are important to leadership development education? and, (c) What are client attitudes toward leadership development education? A descriptive research approach was used and the data were analyzed according to a model developed by Colaizzi. Concept maps were developed under the broad areas of: (a) Developing leader qualities; (b) Past experiences that developed leadership skills that worked on the jOb; (c) Leadership skills developed from present day positions; and (d) How leadership skills may be developed in future situations. A description of the dynamics of leadership development was written and the essential dynamics of leadership skill development in one volunteer organization was described. This study supports the linkages perspective of leadership within voluntary organizations developed by Vandenberg, Thullen and Fear (1987). The linkages perspective consists of three major components: perception, property and process. As a perception, leadership is the set of beliefs each group member holds regarding the behaviours and qualities characteristic of effective leaders. As a property, leadership represents the qualities attributed by group members to persons perceived as effectively (or potentially) influencing the goal achievement process. As a process, leadership involves the use of non-coercive influence to facilitate group accomplishment of valued goals. Leadership concepts important for development in a leadership development education program related to personal, organizational and societal development. The top five concepts in terms of rank order are communicating effectively, forming and working with groups, working creatively (tie), developing followers, managing meetings, directing projects or activities, understanding financial matters, managing negotiations (tie), developing resources and understanding and developing oneself (tie). Several recommendations are relevant for extension personnel as educators. Theoretical concepts on leadership need to be shared to extension practitioners involved in leadership development. currently used teaching materials for leadership development should be evaluated to see if they include concepts from preferrred theoretical leadership perceptions.