Managing people is one of the most important roles in any organization, and also one of the most challenging. Recognizing the tough role managers have, UVAFinance has begun an intense, year-long course for managers called the Management Development Program (MDP).
UVAFinance worked with the Center for Leadership Excellence to develop the structure of the MDP, which includes three facets: 360-degree feedback, a series of development sessions, and individual coaching. Eighteen managers representing almost all of UVAFinance’s departments made up the inaugural class, with the second class to begin this autumn.
During the group's first skills development session, the facilitators provided participants with an overview of their 360-degree feedback results to create awareness of common strengths and developmental opportunities. Participants had the opportunity to discuss challenges that they are facing and to help each other generate potential solutions.
The remainder of the session included content about leading teams through change using the framework from Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. The group explored the ways that our rational mind and emotional mind affect our ability to make lasting changes, both personally and professionally. The participants discussed the patterns that support successful change and began to create individual action plans for a change they plan to lead. The session provided a great opportunity for self-reflection, relationship building, and knowledge sharing across the various areas of UVAFinance.
In addition to the 360-degree feedback and the skills development sessions, participants in the program have the opportunity to take part in one-on-one leadership coaching. The one-on-one coaching began with sessions with the Center for Leadership Excellence, where participants were able to review the results of their 360-degree feedback and discuss professional development opportunities. Participants are encouraged to continue their leadership coaching throughout the program with Patty Marbury, who is a certified coach.
“Coaching involves a lot of self-study and individual development, and, because they decide what they want to work on after reviewing their 360, it’s led by the participant,” says Marbury.
“This program gives our managers the tools and resources they need to be successful at managing people,” she continues. “We’re developing our managers and growing our leaders.”
Linda Mayo from Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services, currently a part of the MDP program, says she has found the program "immensely helpful."
"It gives you perspective on the commonalities between yourself and other managers," she says.
"And the coaching sessions have been very enlightening, because of the HR perspective Patty brings."
The long-term goal of the program is that all those in UVAFinance who manage others will participate in the program.