The Leadership Series
Certification for Those in Leadership Positions
The purpose of the Leadership Series is to provide a consistent, systemic and skills-based curriculum designed to develop a firm base of common leadership knowledge, skills, mindsets, and tools in both emerging and established leaders.
The Leadership Series curriculum is offered in ten (10) sessions. Each session consists of a live 75-minute learning experience including written content, workbooks, PowerPoint decks, and leadership development activities. Both pre-curriculum and post-curriculum assessments are used to track the specific skill development of course participants.
A description of each course session and its learning objectives are listed for each of the 10 leadership curriculum sessions. The curriculum is flexible in that the order of the sessions can be changed based on context. The curriculum content can also be modified but is designed to consist of one, 75-minute, in-person session delivered at regular intervals (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly). For example, intensive three (3) or four (4) day leadership retreat formats are possible.
*Each of these courses is also available as individual, stand-alone workshops upon request.
Session Descriptions and Learning Objectives:
Session 1 - Back to the Basics: Essential Concepts and Skills for Leaders in a Value-Based Organization
The foundation of any organization is its values. While much of the training leaders receive understandably focuses on policy and procedure, leaders must have early and ongoing training in organizational values and culture. This training assures that leaders not only understand the organization’s values and desired culture but can explain them to employees and model them in her/his own leadership. In addition, leaders should have the opportunity to struggle with the values espoused by the organization, ask questions about those values, and develop specific, concrete applications of the value-based principals in their own leadership behaviors. Having value statements is common to most organizations. Having leaders that practically model and effectively interpret those values into employee behavior is extraordinarily uncommon.
- Participants will understand the Mission, Vision and Values of their organization.
- Participants will recognize the essential purpose of the organization and the methods by which the purpose is achieved.
- Participants will learn specific strategies and use concrete tools to design, interpret, implement and maintain programmatic and departmental cultures consistent with the organization’s philosophy.
- Participants will learn the role of conflict in executing the organization’s philosophy including acquiring specific skills for effectively managing conflict.
Session 2 - The Four Secrets of Successful Change Agents: Practical Tools for Changing Yourself, Your Team and Your Program in an Ever-Changing Organization
Change is constant. We get that. But how do leaders make change happen, rather than react to change happening to them? The latest science of change provides leaders with transformational insight on how to utilize all of one’s leadership tools to design a systemic, effective and efficient process for supporting enduring change in individuals, teams, programs, and organizations. While change may, in fact, be constant and necessary, most adult brains do not welcome change and almost invariably resist it. Much of this resistance—and the path to overcoming it—lies in how our brain develops to progressively avoid change. Instead of worrying about resistance, leaders can use the information and exercises in this session to anticipate resistance and work with it to reach the change goal desired.
- Participants will learn that change is hard because it’s supposed to be. In adult brains, resistance to change is a natural and progressive brain development trait.
- Participants will recognize that nothing changes if nothing changes, so you must start any change effort by changing yourself. Others cannot possibly change if the leader does not change so change must start with the leader’s modeling of it. Participants will also learn that personal identity is the most effective and efficient change tool and how to utilize personal identity to support change in individuals.
- Participants will be taught how to use five (5) strategic questions to create new thinking, feeling, and behavior in specific teams or groups. Using the power of habit formation in the brain, this approach to leading change is systemic, straightforward and highly effective.
- Participants will learn that to change an entire program or organization, the leadership must change the structures underlying the current state and align them with those that reflect the desired state. Concrete tools such as Organizational Glossary, Culture Card, Empathy Card and Affinity Diagrams/Gap Analyses will be shared as concrete tools supporting programmatic change.
Session 3 - Feedback Rules: Mastering the Skills of Persuasive, Inspiring and Effective Communication with Employees
A leader’s skill in delivering feedback to employees may be the most influential of all the tools in her/his respective toolbox. If you’re reading this and you have ever been an employee, your mindset, confidence, and efficacy were likely heavily influenced by feedback from supervisors, mentors or other leaders. But despite the power of feedback, few leaders are taught how to effectively provide it. In this session, leaders will be exposed to the latest research on feedback and the most effective and timely ways in which to share it. Common myths about feedback will be exploded and leaders will learn a concrete and immediately useable structure for providing persuasive and inspiring feedback to those they lead.
- Participants will learn that frequent, consistent and balanced feedback is the most effective feedback for the vast majority of employees.
- Participants will recognize that using feedback solely for “discipline” in a progressive discipline model leads to poor outcomes, disgruntled staff, and internal organizational conflict. In fact, the progressive discipline system may be the most necessary but ineffective performance management system in modern history.
- Participants will be taught a four-part model for providing employees regular feedback about performance. This four-part model can be used by leaders to plan, deliver, evaluate and document an employee feedback session.
- Participants will recognize that communication via frequent, consistent and balanced feedback is the primary determinate of employee engagement, trust and loyalty.
Session 4 - Success Requires Struggle: Transforming Your Relationship and Your Skill Set with Conflict
Conflict is a normal part of human relationships. Conflict occurs in almost every human relationship of moderate duration—and even of short duration! Yet society would have us believe that no conflict is the desired goal or reflective of a “good” workplace. But the expectation of no conflict is not only unrealistic; it is the source of enormous anxiety and frustration in the workplace. This session shows leaders how to view conflict as an important and required part of any innovation or change process and how to effectively embrace conflict without undue and unnecessary stress, judgment and dissatisfaction.
- Participants will examine the paradox of conflict’s ever-presence in human interactions and the desire most employees have for a conflict-free work environment.
- Participants will learn that conflict is interpreted negatively because of the manner in which it is handled, not the fact that it exists.
- Participants will learn how to anticipate and leverage conflict to provide valuable clarification, give a “Big Picture” perspective, clarify mindset and clearly communicate behavioral expectations in the workplace.
- Participants will learn how to communicate effectively before, during and after conflicting events to maximize learning, growth and change while maintaining the respect, dignity and integrity of all concerned.
Session 5 - Growing Your Replacement: The Art of Performance Coaching for Emerging Leaders
Effective leaders develop employees to replace them. Leaders who fail to grow employees to fill leadership positions leave their organizations vulnerable to exits, retirements, promotions, accidents and other unexpected changes. But leaders can’t “manage” employees to replace them; rather they must coach them to higher levels of thinking, feeling and behaving in leadership contexts. This session outlines key coaching skills leaders can use to develop in employees the skills to replace the leader when the need arises.
- Participants will learn the primary reasons for coaching employees to develop the leadership skills essential for replacing the leader if and when the context arises.
- Participants will be exposed to the key differences between managing employees and coaching employees for developmental growth.
- Participants will be taught how to collaboratively set performance goals with employees related to leadership development and upward mobility in the organization.
- Participants will learn the fundamentals of successful coaching by asking and responding to five (5) critical growth questions in each coaching interaction.
Session 6 - Talking About the Elephants in the Room: Empowering a Culture of Equity and Excellence
Equity, diversity and inclusion are crucial but often uncomfortable topics in the workplace. Establishing a culture in which employees feel safe, supported and respected for raising, discussing and debating equity issues is essential to developing an inclusive and diverse workplace. Because each organization has its own unique context and history, a “one-size-fits-all” approach may not only fail to build an equitable culture, it can damage equity-friendly efforts that already exist. The most effective approach is to build a culture where the organization’s equitable policies, practices, systems, relationships, behaviors and conversations can be openly, honestly and safely discussed—by any employee—so that the organization can become aware of its unique equity needs, problems and strengths, allowing the organization to recognize and address its needs and problems while continuing to build on its strengths. This session equips and empowers leaders to engage in such conversations, maintain safety and establish systems for implementing the structures, systems and practices necessary for a diverse, equitable and inclusive organizational culture.
- Participants will learn that an equitable culture begins with the establishment of equitable language. Identifying and deploying language that is respectful and inclusive of all provides an essential foundation for promoting conversation around equity issues and concerns by creating a common language that all can feel comfortable and confident using and avoids offense to persons and groups.
- Participants will be instructed in micro, mezzo and macro methods for promoting and facilitating conversations around equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Participants will be taught how to safely collect authentic stories of equity experiences in the workplace and how to utilize those stories to design and implement change where needed.
- Participants will learn specific skills for managing strong emotions that often occur in equity discussions so that leaders feel empowered and confident when promoting and leading conversations that guide equitable growth in individuals, programs and the organization.
Session 7 - Nobody’s Above the Law: Employment Law Compliance for Leaders
Leaders simply must know the basics of employment law. While organizations often provide supports through administration and human resources, leaders must often take actions in the moment without the opportunity for consultation with resident experts. By understanding the basics of employment law, leaders protect employees, the agency and themselves from EEOC, civil rights and legal actions that consume significant time, energy and money. Most important, leaders’ knowledge of and compliance with federal and state laws assure a workplace free from harassment and discrimination.
- Participants will learn the primary Federal laws associated with the workplace, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Participants will be able to identify the “protected classes” under the Civil Rights Act and the common ways employee rights are violated under the Act.
- Participants will learn the primary state laws associated with the workplace.
- Participants will be taught what workplace behaviors constitute discrimination and harassment, the most common source of employee complaints.
- Participants will review internal systems for managing legal inquiries, subpoena requests, EEOC complaints, and other common legal processes.
Session 8 - Getting on Top of the Chaos: Brinksmanship Skills for Setting Goals, Managing Projects and Monitoring Progress for Yourself and Those You Lead
What are the skills leaders need to keep organized, effectively manage communication and make progress despite ever-changing goals, priorities and projects? This session will share concrete skills for managing your time, your work and your sanity in this fast-paced, high-demand and change-oriented culture. The bottom line is productivity. These skills will increase your productivity without adding time or stress. Instead, you will be more productive, less stressed and more influential in your work.
- Leaders will learn the biggest obstacles and distractions to getting the right work done every day—and how to eliminate them.
- The leader will learn multiple skills for prioritizing that are based on changing contexts.
- Leaders will learn how to take control of their actions instead of managing other people’s “stuff,” including making the best decisions in the moment.
- Leaders will be taught how to use email to communicate more effectively and efficiently without creating more work or more problems.
- Leaders will be taught the myth of multi-tasking and the power of planned focus, planned reflection, and planned problem-solving.
- Leaders will learn the 5 steps to effective project management.
Session 9 - Interviewing and Selecting New Employees: Beyond Gut, Guessing and Bias
Another critical role of the leader is to hire new staff into the organization. The recruitment, hiring and onboarding of staff require a major time and money investment by the organization. When new hires don’t work-out, myriad problems of quality and cost result. On the other hand, the staff is what makes a program great. Hiring the right staff member for the right position results in numerous organizational benefits that can last months, years and even decades. Honing the interviewing and selection skills of leaders is an important investment in the future of the organization.
- Leaders will be able to identify the most common “red flags” in the screening, interviewing and reference process and recognize why these indicators often result in poor hires.
- Leaders will be taught three important steps they can take before the interview to ensure the candidate is viable, a good cultural fit and likely to be hired.
- Leaders will learn the types of interview formats that are most commonly used and what formats are best for each hiring context.
- Leaders will be taught effective interview questions structures i.e., the types of questions leading to the most informative and revealing answers.
- Leaders will learn the questions they cannot ask.
- Leaders will understand the reference process and why this may be the most important step in the entire system.
- Leaders will learn strategies for making the final decision to extend an offer or pass on the candidate.
Session 10 - Managing Your Mind for Extraordinary Mental Health in a Human Service Organization
If clients are going to get better, the professionals serving them must get better. But how does one find wellness, develop, grow and prosper in a high-demand, high-stress environment? This session focuses on how the habits of knowing and managing your mind can lead to extraordinary mental health and genuine experiences of thriving in even the most demanding settings. This session emphasizes that a few new habits can provide amazing results in stress relief, motivation, lowered anxiety, improved focus and overall job contentment.
- Participants will learn how the adult brain really works– by constantly seeking balance and relentlessly demanding discipline. These powerful drives influence nearly every feeling, thought, decision and behavior you bring to the workplace.
- Participants will learn multiple strategies for balancing her/his brain chemistry in high-stress contexts.
- Participants will be taught strategies for expanding your leadership behaviors to overcome obstacles and grow specific mindsets, sculpt new behaviors and overcome obstructive feelings.
- Participants will learn how to progressively and powerfully improve focus, concentration and problem-solving skills.
- Participants will be provided concrete tools to improve happiness, contentment and work satisfaction.