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We are NDSU Extension Service: Empowerment (11/16/2015)

This is the tenth in a series of blog posts to highlight key information about our Extension organization’s culture. The focus of this post is empowerment.

As an Extension employee, you are fully empowered every day to do your job as the needs dictate. Being directly engaged with the clientele allows for a seamless feedback loop that provides Extension agents and specialists with programming direction and with such a close, personal connection to clientele, they can dictate the path needed to meet their programming goals.

County agents need to be independent since they work a distance from the main campus, and state specialists are self-directed leaders of their program. However, this independence and self-leadership needs to be balanced with teamwork because of the various partners involved in Extension work. The balance of independence, leadership and teamwork is determined by the partners which provides the freedom to determine the best balance.

The whole idea of being empowered and self-directed is borne out in local needs assessment and program development. In fact, most Extension position announcements state that being self-directed in the work environment is a qualification for being an Extension employee. Therefore, Extension employees should feel informed and involved in the work they do.

Finally, the vision of the NDSU Extension Service states that "... we will strive to be innovative, adaptable and willing to take risks to create new ways of thinking, learning and addressing issues.”  Encouraging staff to take risks and be innovative certainly reinforces our philosophy of empowering employees.

Ron Wiederholt, Southeast District Director

Next up: Team Orientation

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