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This qualitative instrumental case study identified the leadership skills and concepts learned by participants of an adult agricultural leadership development program. Structured interviews were conducted with 15 men and women who were past participants of the Nebraska LEAD Program. Triangulation was used to verify the findings.
The interview transcripts were coded and analyzed for possible themes. Five themes emerged: (a) Personal Understanding of Leadership—definitions of leadership, skills of successful leaders, and thoughts on identifying leaders; (b) Leadership Lessons Learned—experiences in the Nebraska LEAD Program; (c) Leadership Encounters—experiences in leadership before and after their participation in the program, as well as their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with these experiences; (d) Benefits to Classmates—observations about the growth of other program participants; and (e) Perceptions—personal descriptions of community-related leadership abilities. This study identified several leadership skills and concepts that were learned through participation in the program.
It appeared that the participants’ leadership styles may align with some dimensions of servant leadership (listening, empathy, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, stewardship, growth, and building community) and transformational leadership (individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence). This study called for further research to identify the leadership theory (or theories) that underpin and guide adult agricultural leadership development programs.