Understanding Others

Learn from Experiences

  • Watch the group process in a department or committee meeting. Who helps the group stay on task? Who encourages input from others?  What are they concerned about? What do they focus on and why?  Reflecting on your observations can help you understand your colleagues. The challenge is to step back from the conversation and allow yourself time to observe them in action.
  • Identify a committee you are working on or a group you interact with that you think could work more effectively. Listen to this podcast from the Center for Creative Leadership. Use a journal for a set period of time to document your thinking about ways the group could work more effectively. Discuss your insights with the committee or group in an attempt to make incremental improvements to how the group is functioning.

Learn from Others

  • Identify someone you need to mentor who is a mid-career faculty member. Read this Inside Higher Ed article to frame a conversation you can initiate to offer help. Discuss the recommendations and suggest the faculty member use the “weekly challenge” the article outlines as a tool. As you mentor, you will explore the process and learn more, as well.
  • Seek out a different perspective. Read this Inside Higher Ed article that begins with, "I’m beginning to think academic affairs leaders are from Mars and student affairs leaders are from Venus." Understanding Student Affairs by talking to their leaders may make it easier to improve student services and resolve student issues in your department. Be proactive by taking a step to get to know a leader in GW’s Division of Student Affairs.