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Inspiring Community Leaders

Program Overview

SDSU Extension community vitality team presenting an award.
Courtesy: South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension

Written by Kari O'Neill, former SDSU Extension Community Vitality Program Manager.

This program is based on research and evidence gathered by industry experts in the field of leadership. John Kouzes and Barry Posner spent 25 years developing The Leadership Challenge, a study of how people become exemplary leaders. Five practices are derived from their extensive research conducted with people in everyday leadership roles and settings.

Five Practices for Becoming an Exemplary Leader

Exemplary leaders use the following practices to create a climate that turns challenges into success.

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

Session Topics

Group of team members at a Dakota Fresh booth.
Courtesy: South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension

Using the “Five Practices for Becoming an Exemplary Leader,” sessions will address:

  • Identifying personality strengths.
  • Working across generations and cultures.
  • Using critical thinking and questioning.
  • Modeling ethical leadership.
  • Leading successful teams.
  • Envisioning the future.
  • Building emotional intelligence.

Information covered will vary depending on the type of program selected, length of time available and the focus of the group.


    Format, Requirements and Offerings


    • This program is flexible and adaptable to South Dakota’s changing communities and organizations.
    • It can be customized to fit your business and organizational training needs.
    • It includes two-to-three hour interactive sessions digging into specific topics of leadership and skill development.


    • A minimum of 10 participants are needed to bring this program to your community.
    • Fees start at $250/session, with fees and program costs negotiable.
    Group of participants at a SDSU Extension community vitality workshop.
    Courtesy: South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension


    • An innovative, research-based program for those who have a passion for their community, a willingness to serve and a desire to learn skills to effect change, stretch goals, motivate others and strive for results.
    • A program to move people and organizations toward their vision and goals by energizing the members of the team.
    • A focus on encouraging people to step up. In our communities and our regions, we are faced with constant change. It takes leaders to challenge teams to address these changes.
    • An approach to building a strong team for those who don’t just want to learn how to become a leader but have the passion to ACT like a leader.


    Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. The Leadership Challenge. (2012).

    Related Topics

    Community Leadership