The Wellesley LEAD (Leadership Education, Action, and Development) Program is designed to equip administrative leaders with skills and behaviors related to the College’s core competencies.  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.


For the Nomination Form please click HERE.


Program Details

This year-long program will consist of eight days of workshops distributed over two terms plus an orientation and celebratory session.  The session topics are as follows:


Competency addressed: Developing Yourself and Others

Leadership development work is personally and professionally rewarding, and as with anything impactful, requires openness to learning and change and willingness to put in the effort.  The orientation will focus on understanding the programmatic expectations as well as discussing how to best set ourselves up for collective success. Participants will develop learning goals and action items to revisit throughout the program.

Session objectives:

  • Meeting and getting to know cohort participants and their hopes for the program
  • Developing a purpose and mission for your own professional development and a structure and work processes that promote successful outcomes
  • Discussing and committing to the programmatic expectation and group ground rules



Session 1:    Leading at Wellesley: Practicing Adaptive and Inclusive Leadership

Competency addressed: Leadership


Wellesley’s stated values include making a difference, disciplined thinking, valuing diversity, pragmatic leadership, and service.  To better equip leaders at Wellesley to model these values, this session focuses on ways of leading and leadership theories aligned to these behaviors, including service leadership, adaptive leadership, and inclusive leadership.  At the same time, leaders also need to practice authentic leadership, and be true to their own personal style and preferences, which will also be explored in this session.

Session objectives:

  • Clarifying the roles and expectations of leaders at Wellesley College
  • Exploring individual leadership styles and how to practice inclusive and adaptive leadership
  • Understanding and applying the concepts of emotional and social intelligence


Session 2:     Interpersonal Communication: Building Relationships and Managing Conflict

Competency addressed: Communication

Every leader has to be thoughtful about how their language and way of communicating impacts their organization.  This session will focus on increasing participants’ awareness of their own communication style preferences and practices and provide tools and suggestions for ways to be more mindful and purposeful in all your communications.

Session objectives:

  • Recognizing the challenges of organizational communication and identifying the factors that affect patterns of communication in the workplace
  • Identifying your own communication preferences are and how they may be impacting your leadership style
  • Practicing effective listening skills by shaping and adapting one’s own responses to address the issues and styles of others
  • Understanding practices and tools for effective influence and negotiation, challenging conversations, and conflict management


Session 3:    Performance and Engagement: Increasing Satisfaction and Contribution

Competency addressed: Accountability/Responsibility

Thinking creatively about how to best use the skills and strengths of others can lead to better work outcomes and greater engagement for all.  Leaders need to clarify the strategy and vision for the work ahead and connect that to the interests and goals of their employees. This session will focus how leaders can set expectations, give feedback and coach their employees in a way that increases both motivation and accountability.

Session objectives:

  • Cultivating effective performance management and employee engagement practices
  • Establishing explicit expectations and understanding employee motivation
  • Practicing foundational feedback skills to influence performance
  • Learning how to integrate coaching into your daily management style to build trust and accountability


Session 4    Successful Teams: Collaborating Across the College

Competency addressed: Collaboration

Effective teams must have a motivating shared purpose, a complementary set of skills, and clarity about roles, goals, and norms of team behavior.  This session will focus on setting teams up for success by exploring best practices for structuring and facilitating teamwork, as well as discussing how we can shift our mindsets to better see and take advantage of opportunities for collaboration and shared work.


Session objectives:

  • Adopting mindsets for collaboration and teaming
  • Creating the conditions for a team to produce successful outcomes
  • Understanding of team process and problem solving techniques
  • Conveying team member responsibilities and rules of behavior


Session 5     Strategic Innovation: Creative Techniques for Addressing Work Challenges

Competency addressed: Problem Solving and Innovation

As employees of Wellesley, we are collectively focused on serving the College’s mission to advance new ideas and promote education for the greater good. This requires us to find creative ways to overcome challenges and develop new strategies for working together.  This session will equip you with tools to think strategically, practice innovation, and make effective decisions.

Session objectives:

  • Utilizing tools for thinking strategically and using strategic plans as living documents
  • Practicing innovative approaches to problem solving and process improvement
  • Understanding criteria for effective decision making and decision making styles


Session 6     Inclusive Excellence: Creating a Culture of Belonging

Competency Addressed: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Leadership at Wellesley calls for a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.  Leaders need to understand their own roles and perspectives and actively engage with others to create community across difference.  Leaders must model inclusivity in their interactions and create organizational strategies that reduce biases and leverage the strengths of a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff.


The objectives of this session are to:

  • Understanding concepts regarding diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Exploring individual values, identities and biases for better self-awareness and management
  • Strategies for effective communication and collaboration across differences
  • Developing organizational strategies for managing workforce diversity


Session 7       Competence and Composure:  Continuous Improvement and Managing Change


Competency Addressed: Expertise


Leaders must portray confidence and composure, as well as competence to be effective.  No one can be expert on everything, so leaders must often lean on the expertise of others as well.  Leaders need to think big picture, as well as support the day to day work of their staff. At Wellesley, the better we understanding the College as a whole, as well as the assets that we each bring to work, the more effective leaders we will be.  Change is inevitable, so we also must manage our own responses to change and guide others through changes so that we and the College can continue to evolve and improve.

Session objectives:

  • Gaining insight into the world of work at Wellesley
  • Reflect on your own experience, skills, network, and reputation and areas of growth
  • Understand how to lead yourself and others through change


Session 8      Connection, Reflection, and Service: Becoming a Learning Organization   


Competency Addressed: Service to Others

The final session of the LEAD program will focus on preparing for project presentations to senior leaders, reflecting on the program as a whole, and mining collective learning.  As a cohort, program participants will have built strong relationships and will discuss ways to stay connected, support each other, and learn from each other in the future. It is our hope that this program makes an impact on the participants themselves and that impact extends to many other constituents throughout the College, both directly through the project work throughout the program, and in the future as the cohort makes new contributions to our community.  We hope to build a learning organization where education, action-learning, and development are lived values throughout the College.

Session Objectives:

  • Creating a sense of commitment, responsibility, and common purpose in the pursuit of a vision
  • Reflecting on the learning organization built within the program and strategizing on how to extend it after the program
  • Preparing to serve our constituents with a focus on quality and impact


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 should be high potential, high performing managers/leaders. 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
  • Commitment to time and energy beyond the actual sessions, specifically while engaging in the Action Learning Projects

Nomination Process

The goal is to have a very open process.  Each nominator must submit the application, including a paragraph (approximately 300 words) explaining how the individual meets the criteria outlined above.  Nominations will be submitted to Sarah Staley, Associate Director of Talent Management and Development, 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 Leadership 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 near the end of 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 2018/2019 Leadership Development Program are as follows:

August 28, 2018 Orientation

September 20, 2018

October 24, 2018

November 15, 2018

December 13, 2018

January 17, 2019

February 14, 2019

March 14, 2019

April 10, 2019

May 16, 2019 Celebration

If schedule or content adjustments are needed, the cohort will be notified in a timely manner.