Leading Edge Masthead
Photograph of Ujima Donalson

A message from Ujima Donalson
Assistant Vice President,
Total Talent Management

In this issue of The Leading Edge, we are paying homage to Women’s History Month with content that celebrates women leaders and honors women in the workplace. Women leadership is strong at the UW, from the president to deans, vice presidents, unit directors, administrators and team leads, and I’m proud to work at an institution that has more gender equity than many private sector companies.

For a number of years now, I’ve been quietly asked by leaders from across the University whether POD might consider offering a specific workshop or conference for women leaders. While we haven’t done so explicitly, I believe that leadership is a competency that is demonstrated differently, as expressed by the leader’s approach. Women in leadership may encounter different challenges than their male counterparts and in some instances may be required to flex or stretch more to “fit in” with the organizational culture or hierarchy — or be willing to push back. We honor this in many of our leadership development programs by teaching leaders to understand and honor their innate styles while also equipping them with tools and strategies to flex their style and speak their truths, as they so choose. Read More

Announcing Leadership Fast Track

In this challenging time, POD is offering a series of free one-hour Zoom sessions to provide leaders with just-in-time tools, tips and strategies. Register to join us: Managing Change in a Turbulent World on March 18, Working Remotely on March 25, and Building Resilience and Personal Synergy on April 1.

Photograph of Alicia Kone

Evolve your leadership, grow your team
Alicia Koné, Owner and President, Koné Consulting, LLC

Many books have been written on management and leadership in government and the private sector, some trendy and others which stand the test of time. One theme remains constant: truly successful leaders must be invested in their people to stay competitive. If the adage is true that people leave managers, not companies, then perhaps the reverse is also true that people stay with managers, not companies — or, at the least, managers have a significant impact on whether people stay or go.

Being an effective leader requires a willingness to grow and evolve along with your team. Such leaders create safe, open workplaces where employees can showcase their strengths and be upfront about challenges, develop their own potential and successfully do their jobs. In growing the talent and capabilities of staff, we grow and sustain our organizations. Read More

Photograph of Jamie Wilson

"Don't fret." Fostering inclusivity in language
Jamie Wilson, Communications Strategist, Professional & Organizational Development

Words matter. How we speak to one another and the language that we choose can show regard, respect and inclusion, or a lack thereof. In practical terms, if we offend, demean or marginalize the receiver — in conversation, in print, on the web or via email — our communications will not be as successful.

Earlier this year, POD experienced a major problem with a vendor that we contract with, and the account manager responded with “Don’t fret.”

Ujima Donalson and I were both on that email, and we were not fretting. We were trying to run POD’s business of providing self-sustaining training, coaching and consulting to UW employees and departments, and the vendor's error was putting one of our programs in jeopardy. Yes, we were concerned and frustrated and looking for a quick resolution, but to fret implies something else. Read more

Learning Lab excerpt: Achieving gender balance in leadership

The Learning Lab online platform features a Leadership Development Program with various topic channels, including Women & Leadership. This content is excerpted from the Developing Women Leaders course.

A 2017 study published by the Academy of Management had women and men make exactly the same suggestions about how to drive change in an organization, but only the men were perceived as “exhibiting leadership.”

In order to combat this type of unconscious bias, organizations need to educate all employees about gender bias; cultivate a climate where gender prejudice can be discussed openly, particularly among top management teams; and develop strategies for achieving a better gender balance, not just at the executive level but in the types of roles that lead to high-level positions. Read more

Spring Retreat graphic

Support Your Staff with the Spring Retreat on April 22

The Support Professionals Spring Retreat launched 16 years ago, inspired by Administrative Professionals Day (formerly Secretary’s Day) and in the spirit of celebrating the contributions and development of UW employees who often work quietly behind the scenes.

In many of our units and colleges across the University, women predominate in support roles and administrative positions, and we see this represented in our audience at the retreat. In fact, last year at least two mother-daughter pairs attended the retreat, and it was wonderful to see women from across generations enjoy this day of renewal and professional growth.

In recent years, we’ve also seen increased participation from men at the retreat, and we hope that continues. We plan the retreat with an eye towards inclusivity, with presenters spanning a variety of ages, backgrounds and interests, as you can see from this year’s event schedule.

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, this year’s theme is “Plant seeds, inspire growth!” and the retreat will include a planting station that participants can visit throughout the day. We hope you’ll consider recognizing one or more of your team members with this day of discovery and development!

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