Read more about Developing Human Potential: A Personal Approach to Leadership

Developing Human Potential: A Personal Approach to Leadership

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Gina S. Matkin, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Jason Headrick, Texas Tech University

Hannah M. Sunderman, Virginia Tech

Copyright Year: 2023

Publisher: University of Nebraska Pressbooks

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of Use

Attribution-NonCommercial Attribution-NonCommercial

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • How I See Myself
  • Defining My Personal Values
  • Definining My Vision & Setting Personal Goals
  • Communicating with Leadership Congruence
  • Nonverbal Communication & Active Listening in Small Groups
  • Developing Trust & Being Trustworthy
  • Perceptions are Only From My Point of View
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Meeting the Challenge of Effective Groups & Teams Membership
  • Engaging with Empathy
  • Managing Conflict Expectations
  • Leadership & Civic Engagement: Becoming the Change Maker

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  • About the Book

    This Online Educational Resource (OER) textbook provides an overview and introduction to personal leadership through the lens of how students can develop and maximize their own interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are crucial to navigating the professional world and can help us to better understand ourselves. This textbook approaches interpersonal skills from a personal level and allows the reader to immerse themselves into activities and scholarship across topical areas. Through the text, learners can create their own Personal Leadership Philosophy and expand this into a Civic Leadership Philosophy to help them understand the impact leaders can have on their communities and workplaces.

    About the Contributors


    Gina S. Matkin ( holds a PhD in Human Sciences with a Leadership Studies specialization from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She is currently a Professor and Coordinator of the undergraduate leadership program in the department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, & Communication at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She researches and teaches classes in leadership, particularly related to diversity and inclusion. What she loves most about her work is helping to create inclusive spaces that welcome and encourage both belongingness and uniqueness (true inclusion) and then witnessing how students flourish and thrive when bringing all of who they are into that space – whether it is the classroom, academic advising, mentoring, or casual conversations. In her free time, she loves to garden, hike, spend time in peaceful mountains and forests, and spend time with her wife, Randy, and their amazing rescue felines, Jazzy and Oliver. Most of all, she has much gratitude for life and all creatures (human and otherwise) she encounters.

    Jason Headrick ( is an Assistant Professor of Leadership and Community Development at Texas Tech University in the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications. He received his PhD in Human Sciences with a specialization in Leadership Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communications and master’s degree in Community Leadership Development are from the University of Kentucky in his home state. His expertise areas focus on leadership education pedagogy and curriculum, civic leadership and community development, and the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion across agriculture. Dr. Headrick loves the ability to research and impact the ways we engage in leadership across our daily lives and in our communities. When he finds himself with free time, he is either traveling, painting, or hanging with his cats.

    Hannah M. Sunderman ( earned a PhD in Human Sciences with a Leadership Studies specialization from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in May 2020. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Sunderman both defended her dissertation and attended her graduate ceremony from her dining room table. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education at Virginia Tech. Her work is centered on leader and leadership development, seeking to answer the question: What processes and experiences (e.g., being a mentor, formal leadership positions) affect leader and leadership development and why? In the classroom, she loves learning with and from students as we all grow in our understanding of ourselves and our view of leadership. She enjoys running (though not very fast), listening to Taylor Swift, reading all kinds of books, and watching college sports.

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