What is Breakthrough Leadership?

Breakthrough leadership is an introductory, foundational-level program intended to prepare team members for future leadership opportunities. It is also designed to acclimate team members to working in state government.

Who is eligible to participate?

Team members eager to learn, committed to evolving as leaders, and demonstrating a growth mindset are encouraged to apply. Team members should also be:

  • Full-time
  • New to state government
  • Minimum 6 months and maximum 3 years of tenure,
    at the time of application
  • Not currently a senior-level manager*
  • Employment is in good standing and not currently on a performance improvement plan or involved
    in an HR concern
  • Employed by one of the Executive Departments or Elected Officials offices

*A senior leader is a level below a director and is responsible for budgets, programs, people, etc.

Can someone apply more than once?

Yes. If an individual was not accepted during a prior application period, they can apply to a future summit.

Is a new application required with each summit offering?

Yes, the application was recently updated and includes new questions. Currently the application will be needed for each summit in order to qualify for participation.

What questions are on the application?

The beginning of the application captures your contact information and your supervisor’s contact information, department and division, length of service, and attestation you have the approval to apply for the program. The three essay questions are: 

  1. Why are you interested in participating in Breakthrough Leadership? How do you see your participation contributing to your own professional development, as well as to the betterment of state government as a whole?
  2. Leadership development often requires stepping outside your comfort zone. Describe a situation where you encountered a significant challenge related to learning a new skill or navigating an unfamiliar process. What did you learn from the experience?
  3. Imagine you are leading a team in your agency, tasked with a complex project. A team member expresses frustration with their workload and feels unsupported. Describe how you would approach this situation.

Note: You have 1,500 characters available to answer the questions with. 

How is this different from other Department and/or State leadership programs?

Breakthrough Leadership focuses on leading self, specifically through a servant leadership lens. Uniquely built for those new to State government, Breakthrough Leadership is a 3-day intensive summit with opportunities to stay engaged post-summit through continual learning and growth.

How many people participate in each summit?

40 people are selected per summit, with seat allocations divided proportionally across departments.

Where will Breakthrough Leadership take place?

In Jefferson City. The exact location will be shared with the participants each quarter as the specific location may change from quarter to quarter.

Is supervisor approval required to participate?

Yes. Supervisor support of participants is essential to their success!

How will participants be selected?

The application process for Breakthrough Leadership includes supervisor approval, essay question responses, and a letter of recommendation. Each application is reviewed, and selections are made based on the quality of that application.

Will departments receive a list letting them know which of their team members applied and who was selected?

Yes. A list of the team members who were selected will be sent to the HR Directors to review and approve, once selections have been made. If, for some reason, the selected individual(s) are not approved by their HR team, the Director of Breakthrough Leadership will work with the HR team to make any new selections. A full list of who applied can be sent to departments upon request. 

Who can write my letter of recommendation?

There is no requirement or restriction on who can write your letter of recommendation; just be sure to ask someone who can speak to your leadership qualities and why you should be chosen to attend the summit. Here is a template you can share to assist in the writing process.

I am still waiting for my letter of recommendation; can I just email it once I receive it?

It is preferred to attach your letter of recommendation to your application to ensure it stays with your application. You can exit the application and return where you left off once you receive the letter(s) of recommendation. Please do not email them.

What are the objectives for this program?

Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of public service and the impact it has on the citizens of Missouri.
  • Explain how their individual contribution impacts the mission of their department.
  • Describe their working behaviors and how to leverage their strengths within their sphere of influence and control.
  • Explain their experience with networking and why it is beneficial to them.
What is the curriculum for this program?

The Breakthrough Leadership program takes an experiential approach to course delivery, proven to have an impact on personal growth. Participants will connect and collaborate across the three-day program, and beyond.

  • Day 1 Explores personal behavior through DISC, self-limiting beliefs, and the importance of networking. Participants will also attend a networking dinner with graduates from Missouri Leadership Academy and Breakthrough Leadership.  
  • Day 2 Introduces participants to legislative and budget processes through interactive, educational activities. Participants will have an opportunity to connect with legislative leaders at dinner. 
  • Day 3 Focuses on leading others and change through our influence, and leveraging resources available to us.

Breakthrough Leadership is an introductory, foundational-level program intended to prepare team members for future leadership opportunities. It is also designed to acclimate team members to working in state government.

How often will the summit occur?

The summits are scheduled quarterly. You can find all the important dates on the Summits page.

What is the cost?

Department costs are limited to travel and lodging expenses for team members who travel to Jefferson City for a summit. The Office of Administration covers all other expenses.