In today's industry, dairy producers need more than good management skills to run their operations. They need good leadership skills, also, says Jack Lindquist, director of Kansas Agriculture Rural Leadership Program.

"You cannot effectively communicate to your employees without leadership skills," says Lindquist. "Now, more than ever, producers need to find some way to get leadership training - not only to lead their employees," but also to communicate with people from outside the dairy industry.

Here are some useful tips when searching for a leadership program:

  • Consider how much time and money you have to invest in a leadership program. If you can take 30 to 80 days away from your dairy and spend up to $5,000, consider an individual state leadership program. Several states have programs. The following Web site contains contact information on the different programs: If you cannot spare the time and money for a state program, consider the Holstein Foundation's leadership program, which only consists of eight days of travel and approximately $300. You can call (800) 952-5200 for more information on the program and application process.
  • Assess the extent of your needs. If you feel individual one-on-one training can benefit your personality the best, a Dale Carnegie Leadership training program may be the best match. These programs generally run one night a week for 12 weeks, and offer individual attention if needed. For more information, go to the Web site If you feel a class setting is more appropriate, Dale Carnegie offers that as well.

After assessing your needs, you may decide to simply brush up on your skills. If that is the case, try checking out some books and videos at your local library or online for insight into leadership training.
Useful books include:

  • ”The Leadership Challenge," by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. This book offers insight into the five fundamental practices of leadership and the 10 commitments these practices embody.
  • "Built to Last - Successful Habits of Visionary Companies," by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras. This book gives managers and entrepreneurs at all levels examples and concepts of good leadership.
  • "Leadership is an Art," by Max DePree. The publication gives direction on issues ranging from management skills to the power of emotions in the workplace.

These books are available for purchase at: or