The University of Arizona logo

New Professional Development Series Focuses on Leadership at All Levels

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

This article first appeared on Lo Que Pasa

Have you ever thought of yourself as a leader? If you haven't, you should.

This is the driving philosophy behind UA Leads, a new professional development series presented by the Office of Leadership and Organizational Development, a unit of the Division of Human Resources.

"We often associate leaders with those who hold a leadership title, but we are all leaders," said Diane Brennan, director of leadership and organizational development. "Personal leadership is about your influence in the work you do and the impact you have on others. You may not have a formal title of leader, but your contribution, communications and interactions influence what happens in the workplace."

The series began Thursday and will run through the academic year, with the next event – a workshop titled Disruptive Thinking – slated for Oct. 23.

The October and November offerings are foundational, and focus on shifting one's mindset to help create a positive workplace culture. The year progresses with sessions to empower employees to foster collaboration between teams and leverage resources to broaden the impact of projects, and wraps up with strategies to achieve and sustain success.

A few topics that will be covered this year include creative problem solving, building influence and persuasion, and learning how to make your voice heard in an impactful way. Each session's content focuses on delivering applicable skills, tools and strategies to help participants change their habits and transform their perspectives.

"We work in a dynamic and changing environment that can be challenging," Brennan said. "UA Leads offers people an opportunity to strengthen their resilience and personal leadership brand to more confidently contribute, manage challenges and navigate change."

The program format includes an interactive in-person speaker series, workshops and book discussions, as well as on-demand content and resources to allow participants to choose what works best for them.

"This series is different from previous professional development programs," said Julie Forster, manager of leadership and organizational development. "There is a much more active learning process. We look forward to learning with participants throughout this year, and their input will continue to evolve programming."

To engage as much of the UA community as possible in the collaborative program, high-profile speakers from across the University are speaking on matters relevant to their fields and applicable to the leadership theme. The real power of the program, however, is the opportunity for all employees to engage with and learn from each other, Brennan said.

"If we build up our employees and enable them to feel confident as individuals and see their potential – wherever they are across the University – they'll see how important they are to their team," she added. "All our employees are leaders. This helps people feel the confidence and willingness to speak up and contribute. That's what we want to see."

Visit olod.arizona.edu for more information or send an email to the Office of Leadership and Organizational Development at yoda@email.arizona.edu.