Leadership Program

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Wellesley College Leadership Development Program

The Leadership Development Program is Wellesley – specific,and is designed to build the College’s capacity for cross-functional collaboration and creative problem solving throughout the College. The program
will provide an opportunity for selected administrative employees to sharpen their supervisory, management, and leadership skills, to work on cross-institutional initiatives,and to help prepare for future leadership roles.

Program Details

This year-long program will consist of nine days of workshops distributed over two terms plus a celebratory session.  The first term will address strengthening supervisory and management skills, using participants’ current work situations to apply new skills and tools.  The first term sessions are as follows:

Session 1:         The Inner Leader: Defining Your Personal Leadership Style

Every leader-manager needs to know themselves well with regard to both their “operational” and “relational” capacities. A good leader at any level is one who knows him or herself well, possessing a clear understanding of both strengths and challenge areas, and how to lead and communicate in an effective and authentic manner. This session uses the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to provide a framework for understanding concepts of effective management and leadership in an academic setting.

This session will educate leader-managers on:

  • The role of the leader in terms of expectations and key responsibilities
  • Individual management styles and types of tasks and employees with which this style is effective and ineffective
  • Understanding and applying the concepts of emotional and social intelligence

Session 2:         Leadership Communication: Managing Relationships

Communication hinges on two skills: the ability to listen, and the ability to express oneself. How we do either will impact our effectiveness as a manager or leader at any level of our institution. A number of variables influence the effectiveness of communication. Some are found in the environment in which communication takes place, some in the personalities of the people involved, and some in the relationship that exists between them.

In this session we will focus on unique features – and challenges - of organizational communication, through real-time examples and exercises grounded in today's academic workplace. We will address how to effectively communicate across the institution, and how to manage workplace conflicts and sensitive situations.

This session will educate leader-managers on:

  • Recognizing the challenges of “organizational” communication
  • Identifying the factors that lead to negative patterns of communication in the workplace
  • Managing the institutional culture
  • Identifying conflict management styles
  • Uncovering underlying tensions
  • Crafting effective resolutions


Session 3:         Creating A Performance-based Culture: Motivation, Coaching, and Feedback

An effective leader-manager recognizes that true performance management is both a strategic and tactical necessity – and not simply an administrative requirement. It is the day-to-day interactions with managers, not an annual performance review, that increase employee performance and engagement.

Creating a performance-based culture involves communicating clear expectations, providing ongoing feedback and coaching year-round. It demands that the leader-manager understand the institutional mission, departmental goals, the tasks to be accomplished – and the abilities of those who will tackle them.

This session will educate leader-managers on:

  • Why performance management often fails
  • Cultivating effective performance management behaviors
  • Moving beyond the tools
  • Connecting to the mission
  • Establishing explicit expectations
  • The feedback imperative
  • Leadership accountability

Session 4          Team Management: Clarifying Expectations, Enabling Success
Institutions are composed of individuals and teams constantly moving and interfacing. How individuals interact within and between teams create the climate and the culture of an organization – sometimes effectively and sometimes not. During this session we will focus on three principle areas: 1) identifying the qualities of productive and healthy teams, 2) determining personal contributions in moving toward effective relationships, communications, goal definitions, expectations and actions as it relates to the nature of teams and teamwork, and
3) identifying the factors that support or hinder a cross-institutional collaboration.

This session will educate leader-managers on:

  • Types of teams, and their relative strengths and weaknesses
  • Key components of productive teams
  • Recognizing effective and ineffective structures
  • Team member responsibilities and rules of behavior


Session 5          Problem Solving and Decision Making: Thinking Strategically
As with leadership and management, there are many different frameworks and methodologies for strategic planning. Difficult problems and important decisions will require more than a “best guess” or “gut call,” particularly when the outcomes will have multiple impacts. Thinking strategically enables senior leaders to set priorities, focus energy and resources, seeking to transform the static “Strategic Plan” into a “living” process that can evolve and grow as requirements and other circumstances change. This highly interactive session will examine common problems and traps, and explore various techniques and strategies. The program helps leaders to rapidly and accurately identify goals, establish agreement on outcomes, and adjust direction in response to a changing environment.

This session will educate leader-managers on:

  • Thinking strategically using PEST and SWOT
  • Strategic plans as living documents
  • Problem solving vs. Troubleshooting
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Criteria for effective decision making
  • Decision making styles

The second term will focus on leadership concepts and skills, and will include practice opportunities within cross-functional learning projects. 

The cohort will consist of approximately 15 employees from across the College who will be selected by the senior leadership to participate.  We anticipate that interest may exceed capacity as it did with our previous programs. 

Goals for Participants

If selected for the Wellesley College Leadership Program, participants will:

  • Focus on strengthening their skills as a supervisor, manager, and leader
  • Experience working on cross-institutional initiatives
  • Gain recognition for their commitment to the College
  • Enhance cross-institutional collegiality by working with colleagues from other areas
  • Learn the importance of managing effectively in a diverse and inclusive workplace
  • Prepare for future leadership opportunities

Criteria for Selection

Employees may self-nominate, or nominate someone with whom they have worked.  Department heads and managers may nominate employees who they believe meet the following criteria in addition to excelling in their current positions:

  • Interest in broadening their contributions to the College
  • Ability to collaborate
  • Commitment to continuing their professional development
  • Commitment to bettering the College as a whole

Nomination Process

The goal is to have a very open process.  Each nominator must submit the attached application, including a paragraph explaining how the individual meets the criteria outlined above.  Nominations will be submitted to Carolyn Slaboden, AVP of Human Resources and EO, who will assemble the information, review all nominations with the applicable division head, and narrow the slate to a proposed cohort.  The slate will be brought to the Senior Staff for final approval.  The goal is to develop a cohort that reflects the diversity of roles and functions at the College.  Those who are selected will be notified prior to the end of the academic year.   An initial gathering of the group will take place before the summer to meet one another, to meet the facilitators and to establish the expectations for the program.

All Leadership Development Program sessions will take place at the Wellesley College Club from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  A closing celebration will take place from 8:00 – 1:00 at the College Club.

Dates of 2017/2018 Leadership Development Program are as follows:

September 20, 2017
October 25, 2017
November 15, 2017
December 13, 2017
January 17, 2018
February 14, 2018
March 14, 2018
April 10, 2018
May 9, 2018
May 16, 2018 Celebration