Become a Better Leader in 2016

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Jennifer Doak-Mathewson

3 min read

This New Year, start your career path off on the right foot. Ted Carroll, the president of Leadership Greater Hartford, gives some advice for those of you looking to sharpen your leadership skills—and connect with alumni in your area.

How can career-minded alumni start their New Year off right?

In my opinion, The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner is the best book written on leadership, so I’d highly recommend picking up a copy.

You should also look up the community leadership program in your area for opportunities. The Association of Leadership Programs website is a good place to start.

For Hartford-area alumni, I’d of course recommend registering for the leadership workshop series we’re holding in conjunction with UConn Alumni! The first session, on January 27, is a deep dive into what really motivates people to perform at high levels.

And if you’re a mid- or later-career professional in Hartford looking to become a nonprofit leader, consider enrolling in Encore! Hartford, which is run by UConn and Leadership Greater Hartford.

Your workshop on Jan. 27 is about incentives. Can you give a sneak peek? What incentives should managers consider other than financial rewards to motivate their employees?

Somehow, we’ve come to believe that financial incentives are the biggest drivers for most people. While it’s important to pay people fairly, we also know that intrinsic rewards are generally more effective than extrinsic rewards for people to perform at their best.

As Dan Pink has demonstrated, motivations such as the desire to work autonomously, achieve mastery, and accomplish something meaningful are far more powerful incentives than the compensation we are paid. We need to consider how to structure our workplaces in ways that connect people to these internal rewards.

Let’s do a quick preview of the other two workshops. What can participants expect over the course of the three-part series?

We’ll be looking at two other key leadership behaviors: giving feedback and creating safe environments.

March 16 is our feedback discussion. For many, the only thing as painful as receiving criticism is giving it. In this workshop, the most common challenges in giving feedback to coworkers, as well as family members, will be explored. We’ll empower attendees with the skills to overcome these barriers.

On May 4, we’ll talk about how important it is to create safe environments. Great leaders work hard to protect their employees and instill a greater sense of value to their organizations. We plan to teach the leadership skills needed to create an environment where employees develop a sound sense of safety, trust in their supervisors, and security in their positions—even in unstable economic conditions.

Can you talk about Leadership Greater Hartford? What services do you provide to alumni and others in the area—both for new graduates and experienced professionals? What sort of community is it?

Leadership Greater Hartford identifies, develops and connects diverse leaders in the area. We’re best known for the Quest program, now in its 40th year, where rising and established leaders from throughout the region come together for a year to work on their skills while building their network and addressing needs in our community. Many UConn alumni, like myself, have graduated from this program—but there’s room for more every year.

In addition to Quest, we offer special programming for everyone—whether you’re in high school, college, your executive years, career transition, or even retirement. We believe leadership is a continuous journey, and that the best communities are places where each of us has a chance to grow our skills and network in service to the public good. Anyone who wishes to join us in this mission is welcome—if you’d like to learn more, you can visit the LGH website or email me.

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