A statewide leadership program in Kansas is training people how to get things done.

Bob Sage is a case in point. Promoted to police chief of Rose Hill in 2002, he wanted to learn new ways to teach and lead. “Cops are alpha males, and everyone is trying to be leader of the pack,” he says. “You tend to have a real dominant personality.”

Sage discovered the Kansas Community Leadership Initiative, which taught him different ways people learn and various approaches to lead them.

Although top-down leadership does work in life-and-death situations, there’s a time for collaboration, too.

Aside from helping him manage his own team, the training gave Sage confidence to strengthen police ties with surrounding jurisdictions.

Second case: Orthodontist Gina Pinamonti doesn’t think her people wake up in the morning ready to pick a fight, but she does think Leadership Crawford County strengthened her communication skills.

“Where I might be less emotional and more on the rational side, I need to accept that others might not be,” she says. “If I had a meeting, and someone did not get it and I could not understand why, it’s just that we have two different ways of gathering information.”

Pinamonti learned to behave more as a facilitator than a ruler.

Third example:
Tim Long runs Panhandle Oilfield Services in southwest Kansas. His community’s LEAD (Leadership Enrichment and Development) program taught him how to ask for something without putting people on the defensive. It also convinced him to run for city commissioner. He was elected a year ago.

 “We don’t just have to settle for OK when people are empowered with this idea of leadership,” adds Christi McKenzie, a trainer.

— Adapted from “Confidence to Lead: Summary Report 2009,” Kansas Health Foundation.

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