Six Ways to Learn Your Personal Leadership Style

FFA Convention

If you’ve been part of a team, group project or committee, you probably noticed that some people seem as if they were “born to lead.” Or maybe your friend can play the guitar or is an amazing artist. We all have our own unique talents, and these strengths can be used in many ways. When we identify our own natural abilities, we can focus on doing what we do best, but our team will also be able to accomplish more. The benefits of assessing your talents and strengths can help you succeed now, as well as launch a lifetime of achievement.

Dr. J. Scott Vernon is a professor in the Agricultural Education and Communications Department at Cal-Poly, San Luis Obispo. A former California FFA member, he is president of the Livestock Publications Council, serves on the advisory board of the AgChat Foundation, and is founder and executive director of “I Love Farmers … They Feed My Soul.”

“Because of my leadership development, I recognize that you cannot lead unless there is a team,” Vernon says. “You must recognize your role in a team in order to optimize your leadership. You cannot do it alone.”

The best way to be a successful team member starts with knowing what you can contribute. Here are a few ways to assess your talents and strengths.

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Concerts and Connecting: Where does common ground come into play?

georgia ffa

A few weeks ago, I headed down south to the land of the pines for the 85th Georgia FFA State Convention. As a music lover, one of my favorite parts is always the convention concert on Friday night. I knew the band was undoubtedly talented, but there was a question I was waiting to be answered: Will they connect with the crowd?

The Farm answered that question quickly with a hand-clappin’, beach ball-bouncin’, beautifully harmonious yes! They played covers. No, not building a fort in the living room with all the sheets in the house, but they played familiar songs. The Farm could have played their entire new album to get exposure for songs few would know; they didn’t. Sure, they threw in a few of their original pieces, but they were amidst popular tunes like “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Ring of Fire.” They hit every style from Alabama to Michael Jackson. The night became less of a performance and more of a campfire sing along where everyone could be a part of the fun. The Farm knew that creating an enjoyable experience for their audience was more important than promoting their name, so they focused on the common ground.

Who will you connect with this summer? Find the common ground. It builds trust to explore and learn from the uncommon ground.

At camp…So what if she’s from the southern part of the state and you’re from the north? Maybe he grew up on a farm and you grew up in town. Focus on the experiences you can share over the next week. Does he play basketball? Start a game of 3-on-3 before supper. Is she already going to that leadership workshop? Tag along!

On the job…You didn’t choose them, but you’re punching the clock with them for at least a few months. Find a way to make it more fun for everyone. Is he competitive? Make a menial task a game. Does she love ice cream? Go celebrate with a scoop or two at the end of each week!

With the sibs…Even if you’re still finding his legos in your backpack or wake up to her rendition of the newest One Direction hit, you’re family. This is a special time we can pour into our brothers and sisters. Read a book together and talk about what you’re learning. Does he like to run? Hit the trail with him. Is she learning to play an instrument? Sit and listen to her latest piece.

As part of the team…The great part of teams is that we all bring something to the table. We all have different ideas of what our FFA chapters should do for the next year, but what do we have in common? Is everyone passionate about the agricultural awareness day you put together for elementary school students? Spend extra time take it to the next level. Looking for ways to increase attendance at FFA meetings? Focus on what FFA members enjoy. Consider adding fun recreation after business – maybe it’s a game of capture the flag or water games. Ask them!

In his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect,  John C. Maxwell says, “Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” The FFA Creed challenges us to “exert an influence in our home and community.” Let’s do it! Connect. Influence.

~Kalie Hall, National FFA

Waiting on a Train

Just a few weeks ago, Kalie and I had the opportunity to travel to the great State of Texas to visit with National FFA partners. After a day full of visits and driving around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, we found ourselves in a spot that no tired driver/passenger wants to be found in………


That’s right, we got stuck waiting on a train. You know they say that everything is bigger in Texas and the length of this train only confirmed that. As we waited for what seemed like an eternity, car after car in the line in front of us turned around and decided to take another route. To be honest after a few minutes and few more cars leading the way, we considered doing the same. That seemed to be the easier thing to do …..

Does this sound familiar? We often find ourselves in this very dilemma. Maybe we aren’t deciding on whether or not to wait on a train that is blocking our path but rather if we should run for a chapter, regional or state office again after a previous loss. Or maybe we are deciding whether or not a start another Supervised Agriculture Experience after our last project wasn’t as successful as we hoped. As we face these dilemmas during our lives remember there are three P’s that can help us make the decision that is best for us.

Path- No matter what the road block or obstacle is that we face, we have to remember that we chose this path for a reason. Maybe it was to follow a passion. Maybe it was to explore a future career goal. No matter the reason, constantly reminding our self of why we are on this path in our life will go a long way in helping us stay the course or choosing to take a different one.

Persistence-Not too many people on this earth have made significant impact by trying something once and giving up. It often takes us passionately pursuing our dreams and goals constantly for us to eventually achieve them. Through persistence we may even find that the way we can achieve these goals may not be what we first imagined.

Patience- Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are most of our big goals. All the of the work that we put in in school, FFA and our community will allow us to develop ourselves into the leaders and people that we need to be. For me it is often hard to see the value in losses or mishaps because I don’t receive instant gratification. However, I have found that achieving our desires is often a slow process and one that we may not always understand.In the end, if it is meant to be, through the highs and lows of our experiences we can reach our desired outcomes.

So the next time you are at a roadblock in your life and you have to make a decision, remember the 3 P’s of goal achievement and decide the route that is right for you!

Peace and Blessings,

Clay Sapp

National FFA President

B.R.O. Tips

Be a Bro

“Brotip #1544 – Whenever you think about giving up, think about why you’ve kept going this long”

“Brotip #100 – Being a bro has nothing to do with gender, if you’re rad and forever legit, you’ve got what it takes.”

“Brotip #1 – There’s a 99% chance that you’re awesome act like it.”


BroTips! In the five Session of the most recent National Convention, 2011-2012 Eastern Region Vice President Kenny Quick opened his session by sharing his favorite brotips with the audience. Brotips, found on, are all about advice to young people. It doesn’t matter your gender, age or appearance, if you want solid tips for self-improvements brotips are for you.

I love brotips and often cruise the website to check out the latest tips. I’ve decided that the FFA could also use its own brotips, but ours are ‘remixed’ slightly. Nationwide in the FFA we have over 300 State FFA Officers and over 40,000 chapter officers. Being an officer in the FFA, regardless of the position or level, is a great honor. It’s one of the best vehicles we have to develop leadership, and to personally grow. But being an officer in the FFA is also a big responsibility. We represent a lot of different people, are accountable for success of our organization, and have to be relied on to make tough decisions.

Because of the importance of officers in the FFA, our Brotips are remixed so that ‘Bro’ stands for:

Being a



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National FFA Secretary Kalie Hall reports from Arkansas

This month the National FFA Officer team traveled to Arkansas to kick off their year of service.

In this video, Kalie Hall reports on some of things they experiences and people they met, and poses a thought-provoking question:

Why knowledge do you have that can be turned into action?