By: Adrianne Deweese
Issue date: 10/18/07 Section: Today's News
One person can make a difference in a leadership role, said President Jon Wefald Wednesday morning in McCain Auditorium.
"Leadership is not necessarily a rare skill," Wefald said. "Indeed, most people can become very significant leaders in a variety of professions. A person's IQ doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with whether he will become an outstanding leader."
Wefald spoke as part of the College of Business Administration's Distinguished Lecture Series, which Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation sponsored. He is the first university president to present a business administration distinguished lecture.
Wefald cited the late writer, management consultant and university professor Peter Drucker during the lecture. Wefald said Drucker emphasized leaders should always ask "What needs to be done?" rather than "What am I going to do?"
During his 21-year presidency, Wefald has received national recognition for improving K-State athletics and academics. When he came to K-State in mid 1986, he said he listened to needs addressed from K-State faculty, staff, students, alumni, the Kansas Board of Regents and Kansas legislators.
"When I came to Kansas State in 1986, I did not come with a preordained strategy," Wefald said. "I had never, ever stepped foot in the state of Kansas. So I knew I had to listen."
The first 500 attendees at Wefald's lecture Wednesday morning received a copy of "A University Renaissance: Jon Wefald's Presidency at Kansas State" by Robert J. Shoop, K-State professor of educational law and a senior scholar in K-State's Leadership Studies and Programs.
Wefald said he follows eight characteristics for excellent leadership, each of which is discussed in "A University Renaissance." The characteristics are as follows: have a vision and develop a game plan; communicate your vision; hire excellent people and delegate authority and responsibility; make decisions and take risks; admit mistakes and apologize when necessary; be trustworthy and care about others; never give up; and have a sense of humor.
Many people often look at the leadership characteristics and claim they practice and understand them, Wefald said.
"But the truth is they don't practice them. I do," Wefald said. "It isn't just theoretical to me. I take the principles in this book and put them into practice. I guess that's why I'm still here after 20 years."
Media Credit: Steven Doll