How the Managers Cohort boosted a new leader’s skills

Patricia Jordan’s increased supervisory duties as director of the UF Center for Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement motivated her to participate in UF Training and Organizational Development’s Managers Cohort leadership program. Her goal was to gain the knowledge and tools needed to be an effective leader.

Read our spotlight to learn how the Managers Cohort helped Jordan increase her supervisory skills and positively impact UF employees both within and outside of her unit.

What motivated you to participate in the Managers Cohort program?

In my second year as a supervisor, my level of responsibilities were increased and I wanted to gain more tools to be an effective leader to staff and students. Ultimately, this led to positive impacts to the UF campus and our external partners. The Managers Cohort was an opportunity for me to gain knowledge from research based tools, understand and incorporate new skills learned from peers, and it gave me the ability to share my experiences to help impact others.

How has the Managers Cohort program impacted you at a professional and, if applicable, personal level?

The Managers Cohort program impacted me in a positive way professionally. Through this program, I became more aware of the structure, policies, culture and expectations of the institution. This allowed me to help new and continuing staff gain a better understanding of how to navigate difficult situations and to enhance their experiences in different roles connected to the university.

I’ve not only incorporated this knowledge in my supervisory duties, but I have also been able to serve as a mentor to others on effective supervision or dealing with complex structures or situations within supervision. Overall, this program gave me guidance and more confidence in leading others and working within a layered organization such as UF.

Are there specific resources or connections you made during the program that you found most valuable and why?

The most effective tools I received from this program that have impacted my experience as a supervisor include:

  • 360 Evaluation: This evaluation gave me insight on how staff, peers and campus partners were experiencing my leadership. This tool provided insight for the upcoming journey of engaging with the different courses the Managers Cohort program provided. This evaluation gave me a few measurable tools, so that I could track how I was improving as a supervisor and peer.
  • Each course provided unique tools, but being able to hear other managers’ experiences was an effective tool for me. These discussions with peers allowed me to gain feedback from others perspective on what to consider when supervising a diverse group of people and processes.
  • The advice and guidance from the UF Training and Organizational Development staff, gave me a long-term resource as I began to practice these skills within my role.

How have you applied what you learned in this program in your role as a leader?

I have incorporated what I learned from the Managers Cohort program in my supervision of staff — undergraduate, graduate and professional — and teaching peers. I’ve also been able to mentor those whom I supervise on how to navigate complex situations with a supervisee, advisee and campus partners, and to help empower self authorship for staff and students that I have the opportunity to work with.

What would you tell a colleague who is considering applying to this program?

I would advise someone to make the time — within your calendar and mentally — to engage with this experience. If you are looking to improve as a leader, hoping to make connections beyond your office and are open to not only learning but practicing new skills, then this is a program for you! I am an advocate for the Managers Cohort and I have seen ways in which it has shifted for the better, to help managers meet new staff where they are at.

Applications for the 2023-24 Managers Cohort are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit the Managers Cohort website to learn more and apply.

Visit the Leadership at UF website to explore more programs and resources.