Analysis of Leadership Perceptions, Skills and Traits as Perceived by Agribusiness and Industry Professionals
Leadership continues to be an important topic in both the agricultural industry and agricultural education discipline. This study focused on identifying to what degree individual leadership perceptions, skills and traits should be emphasized when preparing college graduates for the agribusiness profession. Participants included employers at University of Minnesota and Iowa State University agriculture career fairs and members of the Minnesota Teacher Induction Program business network. Participants agreed that effective leaders are open to change (M=3.48), effective listeners (M=3.49), knowledgeable about their technical field (M=3.23), can be trusted (M=3.18) and are team players (M=3.17). According these agribusiness professionals, the five most important leadership skills are being accountable (M=3.78), taking responsibility (M=3.75), communicating (M=3.73), learning (M=3.58) and adapting to change (M=3.61); and the five most influential leadership traits are honesty (M=3.71), positive attitude (M=3.71), trustworthiness (M=3.66), self-confidence (M=3.60) and dependability (M=3.60). These findings, like previous studies, confirmed that leadership qualities continue to be invaluable as businesses and organizations develop in a complex global economy and these qualities are equally important in agribusiness. An ongoing connection and exchange of leadership knowledge and resources among colleges of agriculture and agribusiness professionals ensures that future agricultural leaders leave college well prepared for leadership challenges and opportunities in the workplace.