This week, I attended the PDC class “Achieving Your Leadership Potential: Developing Extraordinary Leaders.” Meeting one hour each morning for four consecutive days, I found the class to be a valuable learning experience. The group of people I was seated with come from all across campus and have very different jobs than me. Human Resources, the Police Department, the Office of Sustainability, and the Finance Department were all represented in my immediate group, not to mention Reynolda House, the Provost’s Office, IS, and a variety of other places on campus had staff and faculty in attendance. We were all there for the same reason, to explore how we all might improve our leadership skills to become more effective leaders in our current positions.
We began the class with “pre-work” that involved identifying our major job responsibilities, our strengths, and finally our “growth areas” (no weaknesses). This self-reflection that started the class would continue every day with additional worksheets, quizzes, and discussions with others in the class. Identifying competencies is not easy feat, and neither is developing a leadership development plan, which is the final outcome of taking this class. Matching our job responsibilities with “growth areas” identified specific targets that are important to work on within the context of departmental and organizational expectations. Identifying ways to work on these growth areas (i.e., training, observation, coaching), seeking feedback, responding appropriately to feedback (this can also be a growth area), and learning agility were all discussed in groups and by the class leader, Melissa Clodfelter.
I enjoyed the class and have come away with action points to work on to become a more successful leader. Not only do I think I can use this self-awareness to better work within the expectations of my new position, but I also met some great people across campus, and most importantly saw that everyone has “growth areas” and a little direction and confidence can turn these weaknesses into strengths.