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Latino Leadership in Kansas

The Latino population has rapidly grown over the past four decades with it now making up the second-largest racial or ethnic group in the U.S., approximately 60 million people.

Today, Latinos make up 16% of the labor market. As this trend continues, it will also lead the U.S. into a period of major workforce transformation, where it is predicted by 2025 that one out of every two new workers entering the workforce will be Latino.

It is crucial to understand how to foster inclusion and integration of Latinos, and to explore how best to utilize their diversity and value in the U.S. Understanding this will help to further accelerate economic prosperity, enhance well-being and strengthen civic capacity.

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This study investigated the influence identity plays – in this case the identity of Latinos living in Kansas – in their perceptions, emotions, attitudes and beliefs about leadership. We were interested in learning how this may affect a person’s emergence as a leader and engagement in their community. These findings can shed light on how leadership is exercised within the workplace and community.


Positive emotions about cultural heritage matter

63% of participants reported that their identity is a combination of key elements of Latino and American identities (combined identity). This combined identity is crucial to a Latino’s self-view and their perception of leadership.

Leadership is about responding to others’ needs and achieving common goals

66% of participants reported perceived leadership differences between a Latino leader and a non-Latino leader. When comparing positive leadership attributes in Latino and non-Latino leaders, the attributes of dedication, sensitivity and dynamism were perceived as higher in Latino leaders.

Obligation and passion motivate Latinos to lead

Latinos who are more likely to engage in leadership and community engagement have intrinsic and introjected motivations to lead and a positive attitude toward community engagement (intrinsic motivation = passion for leading others; introjected motivation = feeling obligated to lead).

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