Keys to a Successful Mentoring Relationship

Without a doubt, mentorships help people improve their knowledge and develop skills for the future. The mentor and mentee both benefit from this relationship. The relationship the two share is vital to creating a successful mentoring experience. So, how do you foster this relationship?

  1. Get to know each other

Like all relationships, a mentoring relationship will improve from getting to know one another. Become more familiar with each other’s interests and goals and talk about your expectations for the relationship. This knowledge will help create a more insightful, efficient and effective experience without any wasteful discussion.

  1. Set a schedule

Setting aside time for meetings is important. There should be some structure and understanding of how, when and how often you will meet. Dedicating part of their days to each other may also help the mentee and mentor stay present and attentive, giving them the best chance to learn and grow together. However, according to APA instruction, “Not every contact need be lengthy or weighty,” they can contain “small talk… necessary for establishing a relationship.”

  1. Prepare

The mentee can get the most out of their structured meeting time by preparing some questions and other ideas to share beforehand. The mentor can do the same by remembering learning situations and preparing to share stories with their mentee. Being prepared will help foster great discussion, and both parties will appreciate it. Farah Radzi of ADPList believes you should “Treat each session like a first date where both mentor and mentee are putting their best efforts to get as much information as possible.”

  1. Feedback

Be honest! Hearing what is good and bad about ideas nurtures better growth. Continually check in with each other. Mary Abbajay from Forbes, recommends asking each other, “How is this going for you? What’s been helpful? What hasn’t? What could I do differently to make this a more rewarding experience?”

  1. Reflect

Between meetings, reflect on what you have learned. Reflecting will help you remember more of the important points of the meeting and apply them later. It may also help you remember something unclear so you can ask for more clarification during the next meeting.

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You, too, can nurture career-enhancing relationships at your business or organization with a Mentoring Certificate Program developed by UW-Green Bay to help you establish a mentoring framework designed for success. Only three sessions. Now enrolling. First session starts February 23.

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Sources

Forbes. “Mentoring Matters: Three Essential Elements of Success.” Mary Abbajay. January 20, 2019.

APA. “Getting Your Mentoring Relationship Off to a Good Start.” 2008.

ADPList. “How To Build a Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship?” Farah Radzi. December 22, 2021.

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Writing/Research Credit: Benjamin Kopetsky, UW-Green Bay Marketing Intern

Closing the Leadership Gap

The Institute for Women’s Leadership exists to address the leadership gap and to take progressive steps to narrow the breach.

Leadership by the Numbers
Center for American Progress

  • Women have outnumbered men on college campuses since 1988. They have earned at least one-third of law degrees since 1980 and accounted for one-third of medical school students by 1990. Yet, they have not moved up to positions of prominence and power in America at anywhere near the rate that should have followed.
  • In a broad range of fields, their presence in top leadership positions—as equity law partners, medical school deans, and corporate executive officers—remains stuck at 5 percent to 20 percent.
  • Overall, there is an enormous gap between the fortunes of a small number of prominent women at the very top of their fields and the vast majority of women nationwide.
  • A gulf is widening between American women and their counterparts in peer nations as well: Although the United States ranked first in women’s educational attainment on the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Index of 144 countries, it ranked 19th in women’s economic participation and opportunity and 96th in women’s political empowerment.

The Center for American Progress also makes recommendations for advancing gender equality at home and abroad by leveraging women, peace and security (WPS).

A big step was President Biden’s executive order on the establishment of a White House Gender Policy Council, of which a primary goal is:

Increasing economic security and opportunity by addressing the structural barriers to women’s
participation in the labor force and by decreasing wage and wealth gaps.

Like the Council and the Center for American Progress, UW-Green Bay’s Institute for Women’s Leadership has been established to  “develop and promote affirmative solutions to ensure that all women can participate fully in our economy and live healthy and productive lives.”

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One such affirmative solution is the creation of an Advanced Certificate Program, designed to help women counteract the documented stall that can occur between middle management and executive leadership. The certificate program not only identifies concrete steps a woman can take to outbalance the factors of stalling, it enables women to create a social network across industries vital to their advancement. The program is a blend of online and in-person work, now enrolling for Fall 2021. Register by September 21. Learn more at the Institute for Women’s Leadership.

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RESOURCES:
The Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action. Our aim is not just to change the conversation, but to change the country.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research
We win economic equity for all women and eliminate barriers to their full participation in society. As a leading national think tank, we build evidence to shape policies that grow women’s power and influence, close inequality gaps, and improve the economic well-being of families.

The Leadership Manifesto Challenge

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown is a #1 New York Times bestseller. In the book, Brown applies and builds on the principles from her other books — Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness — in a new context of leadership and culture-building that is “daring.”

Brown says, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here.”

Now Dare to Lead is a podcast and a dedicated hub with links to an assessment, a workbook, organization book reads and downloadable resources.

One of the available downloads is a “Daring Leadership Manifesto.” According to Merriam-Webster, a manifesto is:

a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer

This idea of putting on paper a statement of what you stand for as a company and a team is a great way to become more “daring” and leading with your whole heart.

We challenge you to adopt the Daring Leadership Manifesto or craft your own.

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Daring leadership is teachable and begins with self-awareness. Our Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program includes a diverse course curriculum that will enable you to evolve as a leader and make a difference. The program includes a core course “Develop Yourself and Others” but also covers other critical topics like “Coaching for Performance,” “Change Management,” “Supervision and Human Resource Functions,” “Interpersonal Communication,” “Helping Your Team Achieve Organizational Management,” along with a Capstone Course that integrates all the learning and knowledge. Now enrolling for the fall session, starting in August.

Mentoring as a Super Power

Pat Mitchell is a groundbreaking media icon, global advocate for women’s rights and co-founder and curator of TEDWoman. She is also a passionate mentor. She believes mentoring “can close the gender gap in leadership in this country and around the world.”

In her book, Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World, which is part memoir and part call to action, she connects mentoring with “being dangerous.”

“By ‘dangerous,’” says Mitchell, “I don’t mean being feared. I mean being fearless. Speaking up for truth. Showing up for one other and challenging the social construct that encourages women to complete, compare and criticize.”

As part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, she offers straightforward advice from her experience on how to show up for women and be a better mentor:

  • Being a mentor means matching your skills and interests.
  • Being a mentor takes time.
  • Being a mentor is about suggesting, not instructing.
  • Being a mentor is about asking smart questions, not having all the answers.
  • Not all mentorship ends with a sense of satisfaction.
  • You’re a mentor, not a mother.
  • Being a mentor can result in lifelong relationships that continue to nurture and empower.

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Mentoring Certificate Program
Help leading women and their sponsors show up for other women and other underrepresented communities. We offer a structured mentor training program to enable business leaders and HR professionals to maximize the benefits of mentoring for both mentor and mentee with tips for implementing, enhancing success in any field or level. Now enrolling for a virtual session in September. Certificate can be completed in three weeks. Each session is four hours long – 2 hours of self-study content and 2 hours of online live discussion and activities.

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The Institute for Women’s Leadership seeks to dismantle barriers for women and to fulfill a critical need in the region by promoting a more representative professional workforce and leadership with programs like “Women Rising” Stories from Experience” and “Rising Together: Caffeinated Conversations,” along with “Sharing Knowledge” workshops from qualified business members. For more information visit the website www.uwgb.edu/womens-leadership

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RESOURCES:
Ideas.Ted.com“Help Them Succeed.” Pat Mitchell. March 6, 2020.  

Leaders Share Life Stories

It is graduation season, and leaders in all walks of life are commonly invited to share their life lessons at graduation ceremonies, inspiring future leaders of tomorrow. These leaders may include celebrities, entrepreneurs, political change-makers and more, all with stories and life lessons to share.

Here’s an article from Teen Vogue that collects some of the most famous, featuring:

  1. Steve Jobs: Standford, 2005
  2. Michelle Obama: Tuskagee University, 2015
  3. Natalie Portman: Harvard, 2015
  4. Amy Poehler: Harvard University, 2011
  5. Meryl Streep: Barnard College, 2010
  6. David Foster Wallace: Kenyon College, 2005
  7. Barack Obama: Howard University, 2016
  8. Kerry Washington, George Washington University, 2013
  9. Conan O’Brien: Dartmouth College, 2011
  10. J.K. Rowling, Harvard, 2008
  11. Oprah Winfrey: Harvard University, 2013
  12. Joss Whedon: Wesleyan University, 2013
  13. George Saunders: Syracuse University, 2013
  14. Nora Ephron: Wellesley College, 1996
  15. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Wellesley College, 2015
  16. Admiral William H. McRaven: University of Texas at Austin, 2014

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Take a page out of these leaders’ stories. Our Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program includes a diverse course curriculum that will enable you to evolve as a leader and make a difference. The program includes a core course “Develop Yourself and Others” but also covers other critical topics like “Coaching for Performance,” “Change Management,” “Supervision and Human Resource Functions,” “Interpersonal Communication,” “Helping Your Team Achieve Optimal Organizational Management,” along with a Capstone Course that integrates all the learning and knowledge. Now enrolling for the fall session, starting in August.

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SOURCE:
Teen Vogue, “16 Best Graduation Speeches That Leave a Lasting Impression, Kristi Kellogg and Noor Brara, April 17, 2020.

Changing Leadership in the New Now

2020 has been a crucible for leadership. The world faced a crisis, and workplaces and workforces were forced to adapt. Some leaders fared better than others, creating lessons for leadership in the “new now,” as we navigate a more hybrid future.

Needed skills have shifted in three crucial ways:

  1. The need for communication shifted to a need for empathy
  2. The need for emotional intelligence shifted to a need for emotional agility
  3. The need for time management shifted to a need for context management

Empathy

No one had answers in 2020, including leadership. That meant that in order for leaders to connect and check-in with employees that had to delve a little deeper and share more than updates. The important skill set was less about communication and more about listening.

Emotional Agility

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of and control your emotions. Emotional agility goes a little further. Agile people are not only aware of their feelings, they know how to navigate through them. As a leader, this means you are better able to affect the desired impact because you are self-aware and situation-aware.

Context Management

“Flipping” the workplace requires that leaders rethink how work gets done. In today’s more hybrid environment, leaders need to be more intentional. The work context has changed, so we collectively need to manage our time and design our days around how we work, based on what we’re working and with whom we’re working.

2021 and beyond will demand leaders who are more flexible, collaborative and creative to guide their people and companies through current – and future – challenging times.

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Our Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program includes a diverse course curriculum that will enable you to evolve as a leader and make a difference. The program includes a core course “Development Yourself and Others” but also covers other critical topics like “Coaching for Performance,” “Change Management,” “Supervision and Human Resource Functions,” “Interpersonal Communication,” “Helping Your Team Achieve Organizational Management,” along with a Capstone Course that integrates all the learning and knowledge. Now enrolling for the fall session, starting in August.

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RESOURCES:
Adobe. “New Year, New Leadership: 5 Skills Needed to Succeed in 2021. Melissa Williams. January 28, 2021.
Forbes. “Three Leadership Skill Shifts for 2021 and Beyond. Melissa Daimler. November 24, 2020.

Lessons from Female Leaders

There is a growing call for a more equal future with better representation of women as leaders.

We rally around the need to eliminate or reduce obstacles in the way of women on their paths to leadership. Yet, in a recent article in Harvard Business Review and a compelling Ted Talk, psychologist and author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic accounts for the inequity in another way – an overabundance of incompetent men as leaders.

In fact, he advocates for more obstacles in the way of men who lack the characteristics and abilities that data has demonstrated makes for more effective leaders, which in his assessment overwhelmingly favor women.

Here are his “sexist” lessons male leaders can learn from women:

Don’t lean in when you’ve got nothing to lean in about.

Stop falling for people who lean in without the talent to back it up. Use science-based assessments to more accurately gauge attributes.

Know your own limitations. 

We live in a culture that celebrates self-belief. Although studies show women are generally less overconfident than men, their more balanced self-view means they are better able to prepare, aiding competence and performance.

Motivate through transformation. 

Women are more likely to lead with purpose than men, who tend to rely on incentive. Purpose is tied with higher levels of team engagement, performance and productivity.

Put your people ahead of yourself. 

It’s very hard to turn a group of people into a high-performing team when your main focus is yourself. Because men are generally more-self-focused than women, they are more likely to lead in a narcissistic and selfish way.

Don’t command. Empathize.

Throughout history, women have been told they are too kind and caring to be leaders, but the notion that someone who is not kind and caring is at odds with reality. In today’s workplaces, it is an imperative for leaders to establish an emotional connection with their followers.

Focus on elevating others.

Female leaders have been proven to be more likely to coach, mentor and develop their direct reports than male leaders, thus enabling them to unlock other people’s potential and promote effective cooperation on their teams.

Don’t say you’re “humbled.” Be humble.

There are well-established gender differences in humility, and they also favor women. Humility is also a trait essential to great leadership. Without humility it will be very hard for anyone in charge to acknowledge their mistakes, learn from experience, take into account other people’s perspectives, and be willing to change and be better.

Dr. Tomas calls for a larger focus on equality of talent and potential as the best gender equality intervention. The ROI of male leaders should be scrutinized as strenuously as the ROI of female leaders.

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The Institute for Women’s Leadership seeks to fulfill critical needs in the region and contribute to a more robust, broadly engaged and representative professional workforce and leadership with programs like “Women Rising” Stories from Experience” and “Rising Together: Caffeinated Conversations,” along with “Sharing Knowledge” workshops from qualified business members. For more information visit the website www.uwgb.edu/womens-leadership

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RESOURCES:
Harvard Business Review. “7 Leadership Lessons Men Can Learn from Women,” April 1, 2020.
TedXCambridge. “Why We Should be More Sexist.”
Ideas.Ted.Com. “6 Things we can learn from how women leaders have handled the pandemic,” September 24, 2020.

The Multiplier Effect

Woman harvesting lettuce

Women in Leadership

In our last blog post we reviewed where women stand in the quest for gender equity based on a Declaration and Platform for Action developed by the UN in 1995.

Although the global community has a long way to go, there are bright spots, where innovative women “solutionaries” are pivoting not only to cope but to “build forward better.” These women are architecting transformative futures not only in government, but also in public service, business, in the climate movement and in entrepreneurship.

  • Lina Khalifeh from Jordan took her business online training women to deal with domestic violence
  • Leah Lizarondo from the US doubled the number of volunteers helping to provide much needed free food to those in need
  • Young water engineer Christelle Kwizera from Rwanda used her WE Empower grant money to ensure local schools had running water for access to hand washing
  • Bessie Schwarz from the US is working in 20 countries with Big Data to inform grassroots women’s groups about flood prevention

Recognizing women modeling sustainable business practices and gender equity ignites awareness about their positive multiplier effect, a term developed by economists but with great relevance to cultural gender change.

Repeated exposure of women leading, thriving and change-making improves perceptions of female possibility. Stories about female role models help adolescent girls and other women aspire to leadership positions.

Essentially the success of one woman is amplified by other women and so on, precipitating cumulative change.

The fact is, countries, employers, communities and households benefit when women have greater opportunity and agency.

Our blog post “Revisiting Gender Equality” shared news from New Zealand, Germany, Finland and Taiwan, countries led by female leaders, who are part of a new movement of leaders, caring more for group welfare than individual showmanship.

Yet how can we continue to encourage the multiplier effect when the current path to leadership is often won by risk-taking, competition and negotiation, behaviors women are less likely to pursue, according to research?

Here are some ideas:

Modeling Female Leadership — Mentorship, confidence building, media training and political education are all effective tools to increase adolescent girls’ and women’s aspirations and abilities.

Negotiating Strategies for Women — Women are strong negotiators. In fact, when women negotiate on behalf of others, they exceed men’s negotiated outcomes. However, when women negotiate for themselves they often experience backlash and hesitate to negotiate as strongly. Women can learn strategies to avoid this outcome.

Reducing Ambiguity in Career Paths — Vagueness heightens the potential for gender to play a role in price and salary negotiations. Reduce ambiguity by having transparent information about what career opportunities, resources or rewards are negotiable and what the standards are for attaining them.

It is only by rising together can women, their allies and executive leadership reduce the barriers to women attaining positions of leadership.

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The Institute for Women’s Leadership seeks to fulfill critical needs in the region and contribute to a robust, more broadly engaged and representative professional workforce and leadership with programs like “Women Rising” Stories from Experience” and “Rising Together: Caffeinated Conversations,” along with “Sharing Knowledge” workshops from qualified business members. On May 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Intitute is hosting a Virtual Women’s Retreat, inspiring, an inspiring day of conversation, advice and shared experiences. For more information visit the website www.uwgb.edu/womens-leadership

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RESOURCES:
International Leadership Association. “’Building Forward Better’ – Why Women’s Leadership Matters.” Amanda Ellis, 12 August 2020.
Harvard. “Women and Public Policy.”

Women’s Leadership – Where Do We Stand?

September 2020 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace. There, 189 countries committed to equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls.

In 1995, UN Women created a “Declaration and Platform for Action,” recognizing that the odds were systematically stacked against women and organized to address them.

In 25 years, how have these declarations translated to action?

It is sobering to note that not a single country has achieved full gender equality in practice in 2020. This is based on a framework of:

  • Economic participation and opportunity
  • Educational attainment
  • Health and survival
  • Political empowerment

Basic criteria. Life-defining criteria.

The top 10 countries are:

  1. Iceland
  2. Norway
  3. Finland
  4. Sweden
  5. Nicaragua
  6. New Zealand
  7. Ireland
  8. Spain
  9. Rwanda
  10. Germany

The United States is 53rd.

The goal for the 25th Anniversary was to take stock and reflect on progress. The hope was to point to groundbreaking change for gender equality. Instead, with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, even the limited gains made in the past decades are at risk of being rolled back.

From the UN Secretary-General’s Brief:

The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems, which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic.

Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex.

Yet in the face of these negative impacts, as we’ve pointed out in a previous blogpost, “Revisiting Gender Equity,” a new women’s leadership movement seems to be taking shape with a global call for “Generation Equality.”

The mantra of this movement is succinctly put by Melinda Gates, one of the most powerful women in philanthropy and praised by the UN-Secretary General as “visionary.”

This is how we emerge from the pandemic in all of its dimensions: by recognizing that women are not just victims of a broken world; the can be architects of a better one.

In our next blog posts, we will explore the ways this is being done around the world.

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The Institute for Women’s Leadership was established in 2021. Located at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Institute provides participants the opportunity to expand transformational leadership skills, building a leadership a pipeline for Northeast Wisconsin. The Institute both embraces the Wisconsin Idea and serves the core and select missions of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in its commitment to inclusion, civic engagement, educational opportunity at all levels, and community-based partnerships. The Institute seeks to fulfill critical needs in the region and contribute to a robust, more broadly engaged and representative professional workforce and leadership. For more information visit the website www.uwgb.edu/womens-leadership 

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RESOURCES:
International Leadership Association. “’Building Forward Better’ – Why Women’s Leadership Matters.” Amanda Ellis, 12 August 2020.
UN Women. Annual Report 2019-2020.
World Economic Forum. “Global Gender Gap Report 2020.” Insight Report.

Leadership 2.0

Recently, Jim Collins, #1 bestselling author of Good to Great, talked to Inc. magazine on their podcast “What I Know” about meeting Steve Jobs and how he was a different leader when he came back to work for Apple a second time.

The difference, said Collins, was, “(Jobs) never lost the passion for what he was doing, and he was growing and he was learning.”

That learning contributed to what Collins called “Steve Jobs 2.0.” In his time away from Apple, Jobs elevated himself to a “Level 5” leader, exemplifying a concept Collins talks about in Good to Great. “It’s not about just being a genius with a thousand helpers, it’s about creating a culture of genius that ultimately doesn’t need the genius.”

“Level 5” refers to the highest level in a hierarchy of executive capabilities that Collins and his team identified during robust research of good and great companies. Leaders at the other four levels in the hierarchy can produce high degrees of success but not enough to elevate companies from mediocrity to sustained excellence.

Although other factors are in play when a company transitions from good to great, Collins states, “Good-to-great transformations don’t happen without Level 5 leaders at the helm. They just don’t.”

Level 5 leaders are not the larger-than-life characters most of us expect. Instead these transformative leaders possess a paradoxical mixture of personal humility and professional will. “They are timid and ferocious. Shy and fearless. They are rare — and unstoppable.”

Collins believes there is a category of people who have the capacity to evolve to Level 5.

“The capability resides within them, perhaps buried or ignored, but there nonetheless. And under the right circumstances — self-reflection, conscious personal development, a mentor, a great teacher, loving parents, a significant life experience, a Level 5 boss, or any number of other factors — they begin to develop.”

Explore your capacity for Level 5 leadership by learning more about Jim Collin’s books and concepts on his website, where he includes a library of articles about leadership.

MORE ABOUT JIM COLLINS
Jim Collins is a student and teacher of what makes great companies tick, and a Socratic advisor to leaders in the business and social sectors. Having invested more than a quarter century in rigorous research, he has authored or coauthored a series of books that have sold in total more than 10 million copies worldwide. They include Beyond Entrepreneurship (and the newly released Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0 version), written as a roadmap for entrepreneurs and leaders of small-to-mid-sized enterprises who want to build enduring great companies provides enduring great companies, Good to Great, the #1 bestseller, which examines why some companies make the leap and others don’t; the enduring classic Built to Last, which discovers why some companies remain visionary for generations; How the Mighty Fall, which delves into how once-great companies can self-destruct; and Great by Choice, which uncovers the leadership behaviors for thriving in chaos and uncertainty.

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Grow and learn with our Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program, which includes a diverse course curriculum that not only includes a core course “Development Yourself and Others” but also covers other critical topics like “Coaching for Performance,” “Change Management,” “Supervision and Human Resource Functions,” “Interpersonal Communication,” “Helping Your Team Achieve Organizational Management,” along with a Capstone Course that integrates all the learning and knowledge. Now enrolling for the spring session, starting in February.

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RESOURCES:
Harvard Business Review. “Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve,” Jim Collins, January 2001.
Inc., “The Lesson Management Guru Jim Collins Learned from Steve Jobs,” Christine Lagorio-Chafkin, January 2021.