Wednesday, March 6, 2013

PDI Reflections & Takeaways on Supervision

My journey began with the words, "we would like to congratulate you on being accepted into the 2013 Class of PDI!" These words practically leapt off the page as I read them. I was overcome with excitement because participating in the GLACUHO Professional Development Institute was an opportunity that I was determined to have. I had heard nothing but amazing things from past participants in regards to the relationships they built, in depth conversations they had, and knowledge they had obtained. I knew this was an opportunity for me to grow as a professional and now I was being given that chance.

As someone who is committed to Social Justice, the fact that it was a topic for this year's PDI was a major push for me to apply; however the addition of facilities and mental health as topical areas sold me. I am a firm believer in making sure that I do not just take on professional development opportunities because I want to gain from them...but I want to make sure I am bringing value to the table as well. As I reflect on my PDI experience, I do believe I gained but I also believe I gave something in those rooms as well.

Here are some of my takeaways from the Supervision session of PDI 2013:

The first session I attended was facilitiated by Tina Hovarth of Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Supervision. As someone who has supervised student staff, graduate students, and now a masters' level professional...I was pretty sure I had a pretty decent understanding of supervision. I went into the session expecting to learn, but I left reflecting more then I expected. One takeaway from this session that I still continue to ponder was when we begin to discuss the transtion from supervising students to full time staff. Alma Sealine of Case Western Reserve University stated "You do not have to assert yourself as a supervisor for Full Time...you can be your own worst enemy if you do not ask questions and work as a team." This left me thinking because many times we say that people do not leave jobs; they leave managers. How many times have we not approached working with our full time staff as a team, but have attempted to ensure that it is understood that there is a hierachy? Is it necessary to ensure that there is a level of clear seperation? Currently, I only supervisor one hall director and we oversee our complex together. Naturally, I believe we have built a team dynamic; however with that relationship comes the uncomfortableness if at ever I would need to step into a more authoritative role. How do you maintain that level of balance and those boundaries while having a team approach with your full time supervisees?

Another quote that I still chew on is "When you move to the next level you are going to make mistakes...expectations change, find out what they need and don't be afraid to apologize publicly and personally." I developed an apologetic spirit while working with 15 student staff during my first job...a large RA staff will hold you accountable when you need to be, but they also made me feel okay with making mistakes. I have found that being open to apologize when necessary has allowed me to have trusting relationships with my staff while also keeping me humbled.

When the session concluded we were asked to think of one person whose supervison you admire and to incorporate 2-3 of their characteristics and/or traits into our daily habits. I immediately thought of Amanda Stonecipher. Her transparency and ability and willingness to advocate for the best interest of her staff are two traits that I admire of hers. I also admire her ethic of care. I continue to work to incorporate these 3 traits into my daily supervision.

My charge for you is to do this same task. Who do you admire as a supervisor? What are 2 traits of theirs that you admire? How will you incorporate those traits into your supervision?

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