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Community Leadership Programs Impact Workplace and Community

October 28, 2020


New research finds community leadership programs

boost work performance and community engagement

Report from Kansas Leadership Center’s Third Floor Research

Wichita, Kan. – Third Floor Research—the research partnership between the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) and Kansas State University’s Staley School of Leadership Studies—has released its latest report which aimed to identify the impact of community leadership programs (CLPs) at work and in the community.

The result: Community leadership programs enhance work performance and community engagement, particularly programs that incorporate the Kansas Leadership Center teachings.

  • After attending a community leadership program, graduates use leadership behaviors at their workplace and feel more confident to lead a group.
  • CLP program participation is strongly linked to increased community engagement, with graduates much more likely to serve or want to serve their communities in an elected or appointed position.

“From the board room to the PTO, we’ve had a gut feeling for decades that community leadership programs make a difference. Now we have the research to back up our claims. This project studied individuals who participated in CLPs focused on KLC leadership development concepts and programs with a more generalist approach. Both proved to have an impact on participants in their work performance and community participation, but participants who went through a program based on KLC competencies had significantly better outcomes,” said Dr. Tim Steffensmeier, professor and director of the leadership communication doctoral program at the Staley School and director of research at KLC.

The research took place over the course of two years and primarily focused on qualitative data collection and analysis. A total of 182 individuals who attended one of eight Kansas CLPs between 2017 and 2018 participated in a survey based on the type of CLP they attended.

The study, which can be downloaded here, reports that:

  • While all CLP participants report using leadership behaviors at their workplace after a leadership training, CLPs teaching KLC competencies develop a new set of leadership skills at significantly higher degrees.
  • Participants gain the confidence to lead a group and improve team performance.
  • Participants of KLC-based programs are three times as likely to serve in a civic role (board member, elected official, advisory group, committee member, etc).
  • Community engagement outcomes increase, most significantly for programs using KLC ideas.

The “Impact of Community Leadership Programs on Work Performance and Community Engagement” is the third study to come out of Third Floor Research, and was conducted by Steffensmeier; Dr. Randy Barbour, education program coordinator at Harris Home for Children; Kiley Moody, managing director of scholar services at Kansas State University; and Kerry Priest, associate professor at Kansas State University’s Staley School of Leadership Studies.

Third Floor Research plans to unveil additional reports throughout the remaining months of 2020. To learn more about Third Floor Research, visit

Download this press release


About the Kansas Leadership Center
The Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) is a singular educational organization founded to foster civic leadership for healthier Kansas communities. Its programs and teachings present leadership as an activity available to anyone at any time. KLC offers training for organizations, teams and individuals as well as advanced programs for leadership development practitioners. It provides development grants for civically oriented organizations in Kansas, partners with community leadership programs and offers customized trainings for businesses and non-profits alike. KLC hosts civic leadership forums and encourages Kansans to take active part in public life for the common good. KLC Press publishes books on leadership and The Journal, a nationally recognized, award-winning civic issues magazine. Based in Wichita, KLC receives core funding from the Kansas Health Foundation. Learn more.

About Third Floor Research
Third Floor Research is an applied research center operated through a partnership between the Kansas Leadership Center and Kansas State University’s Staley School of Leadership Studies. The global research program was designed by KLC staff alongside eight expert researchers and practitioners from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Chile, Israel and the states of Colorado, Kansas and Wisconsin. Third Floor Research focuses on the impact of leadership training and contributes to global learnings in the field of leadership and adaptive change processes. It creates useful findings that address individual development, organizational impact, and community capacity. Learn more.


Carrie Lindeman
[email protected]


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