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By Susan Hampton and Ginny Cook
For the News-Herald
The third session of the Owen County Leadership Program, offered by the Owen County Extension Council, was recently held on Sept. 26.
We were delighted to have Denise Perkins, a member of the extension council, serve as hostess and emcee for the night. To begin the class, Perkins asked Glenn Bailey and David Lilly to present what they had found in the media to be strong examples of leadership.
Kim Strohmeier, extension agent and entrepreneurial coach, provided an introduction of the concept that would be taught that night.
Included in that introduction was the hypothetical, but all too familiar, play of events in which a child brings home a report card bearing marks which are nearly all ‘As’ except for that one dreaded ‘C.’
Strohmeier then asked us what the focus of a conversation that might follow such an event typically was, to which we replied, ‘the C.’
The point being that the majority of people tend to put emphasis on weaknesses rather than strengths. And it matters not whether you are focusing on your own weaknesses, or the weaknesses of others, it will not breed sustained success.
Our keynote speaker for the night was Grace Gorrell, founder of the company Lead with Grace, and educator at the University of Kentucky.
One of Gorrell’s central points was that, aside from acknowledging our weaknesses, we need not spend our concentration and energy on overcoming them; more than likely the strengths of the people in our lives will supplant. The mantra of the night was “Leadership is Influence.” How are we using our influence? Often times, true talents are not realized because they are so automatic, or they have been perceived as weaknesses, or others have felt threatened by them.
As leaders, we should put more effort toward determining what talents we and our team members possess, so that we can maximize on the potential of the team as a whole.
As Gorrell put it, “Many talents working together and strategically applied – are necessary to produce excellence.”