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This Online Educational Resource textbook is intended to provide an overview and introduction of leadership through the lens of how students can develop and maximize their own interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are crucial to navigating the professional world and can help us to better understand ourselves. This textbook approaches interpersonal skills from a personal level and allows the reader to immerse themselves into activities and scholarship across topical areas. Through the text, learners can create their own Personal Leadership Philosophy and expand this into a Civic Leadership Philosophy to help them understand the impact leaders can have on their communities and workplaces. This text is freely available per the terms of the Creative Commons copyright.

About the Editors


Foreword: History

Foreword: About the Title

I. Main Body


1. How I See Myself

2. Defining My Personal Values

3. Defining my Vision & Setting Personal Goals

4. Communicating with Leadership Congruence

5. Nonverbal Communication & Active Listening in Small Groups

6. Developing Trust & Being Trustworthy

7. Perceptions are Only From My Point of View

8. Diversity & Inclusion

9. Meeting the Challenge of Effective Groups & Teams Membership

10. Engaging with Empathy

11. Managing Conflict Expectations

12. Leadership & Civic Engagement: Becoming the Change Maker

This book was originally conceptualized as a textbook for a class at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln called “Interpersonal Skills for Leadership.” A book by the same name was originally written in 1996, with a second edition published in 2005 by Dr. Susan Fritz and colleagues (Fritz et al., 1996, 2005). Since the text was up for a new edition, we met with Dr. Fritz, who is a strong supporter of Online Educational Resources (as well as all free or low-cost texts for students). Dr. Fritz graciously offered to write a part of the Foreward for this text and offered great feedback and advice (aka, wisdom). Two of the three authors of this chapter have worked with Dr. Fritz for many years as graduate students, as staff, and, eventually, as faculty. We are grateful for her support and mentoring over the years, including with this current project.

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Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln


Lincoln, Nebraska




Leadership Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial

Developing Human Potential: A Personal Approach to Leadership