K-State Olathe unveils premier leadership program tailored to mid-level professionals

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019

OLATHE — Grappling with how to take your career to the next level? Want to better guide your team through new challenges? Kansas State University's Olathe campus is launching a premiere leadership program for professionals wanting to enhance and maximize their leadership skills.

Your Competitive Edge is a deep-dive into basic and advanced leadership concepts designed to give attendees the edge at their company. The series is primarily designed for professionals employed in the animal health, food and agriculture sectors, although topics are applicable any career field.

"Leaders and managers today function in increasingly complex organizational environments," said Judy Favor, Ph.D., assistant professor of adult learning and leadership and an instructor for the seminar series. "To be effective and consistently deliver results, leaders and managers must display high emotional intelligence and be able to establish trust, conduct difficult conversations, develop a professional presence, and communicate effectively — all with constituents from a wide variety of cultural and generational backgrounds."

Whether an organization thrives or stumbles largely depends on leadership's ability to effectively engage employees, Favor said.

According to Gallup Inc., 82% of managers and executives are seen as lacking in leadership skills by their employees. Gallup also found that only 33% of U.S. employees feel engaged at work versus 70% employee engagement in other leading nations, which the organization recorded in their 2017 State of the American Workplace report — the most recent version of the report.

K-State Olathe's leadership seminar series seeks to improve these numbers. Topics in the series are based on the core workforce competencies identified as areas of need by the Mid-America Regional Council, or MARC.

"We designed this leadership series to help current and future leaders and managers not only learn about, but also practice these hard personal leadership skills in a safe environment where they can get coaching from experienced leaders and practitioners, gain confidence and actually implement these personal leadership skills into their daily work," Favor said.

The K-State Olathe program consists of two professional development series.

Leadership Essentials, the first series, is designed for mid-level professionals at regionally-based companies and nonprofit organizations who want to develop their personal leadership skills.

The series is comprised of four workshops that can be taken individually or collectively. Each workshop is a deep-dive into high-level topics that affect the intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects of management and communication.

Topics include maximizing personal and team performance, professional presence for leaders, critical communication skills for leaders, and engaging across cultural and generational differences.

Certificates of completion are awarded to attendees who complete all four sessions. After completing the certificate program, attendees are encouraged to take the advanced four-part leadership program called Advanced Leadership.

The advanced series is designed to help attendees learn how to motivate others while driving the organization forward through strategic leadership. Workshops include team dynamics and leadership, managing in a complex environment, strategic leadership and business acumen and driving results.

Registration and more information about the program and each of series is at olathe.k-state.edu/edge.