What We Wish We Could Tell You: Directors Uncensored
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What We Wish We Could Tell You: Directors Uncensored Presented by: Paula Luff – DePaul University Lori Vedder – University of Michigan-Flint. Overview. Who can benefit from this session Basics Rules of the game Unwritten rules Politics Top 10 lists

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What We Wish We Could Tell You: Directors Uncensored

Presented by:

Paula Luff – DePaul University

Lori Vedder – University of Michigan-Flint

Overview l.jpg

  • Who can benefit from this session

  • Basics

  • Rules of the game

  • Unwritten rules

  • Politics

  • Top 10 lists

  • Other tidbits and suggestions

  • How bad do you want it?

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Who is this session for?

  • New Professionals

  • Veteran professionals looking to move beyond clerical roles, or who are ‘stuck’

  • Professionals who want to assume a leadership position, or move up in their organization

  • Anyone interested in hearing Paula and Lori talk!

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The Basics

  • Follow the written rules

    • Dress code, office policies, etc.

  • Build a knowledge base

    • Learn as much as possible, be resourceful

    • Stretch beyond your ‘role’

  • Be a reliable, dedicated employee

    • Illustrates that you can be a reliable, dedicated supervisor or boss

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Do you know…

  • Your own strengths and weaknesses?

  • What you want, how far you want to go?

  • What is important to your boss?

  • How your job fits into the overall goal/workings of the office?

  • What is important to your organization?

  • How your office fits into the larger organization?

  • What you don’t know?

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Rules of the Game

  • Written (it’s a given)

    • Office and institutional policy and procedures

    • Any guidelines provided in staff meetings or elsewhere (such as minimum dress code, vacation policies, etc.)

  • Unwritten

    • More important than you think

    • Examples…

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Unwritten 'Rules’

  • We shouldn’t have to say it, but…

    • Show up on time and do your job

  • Dress code

    • What is your boss wearing?

    • What are their pet peeves?

  • Communication tips

    • Answer e-mail and return calls promptly

    • Monitor your tone

    • Don’t get too comfortable!

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Unwritten ‘Rules’ cont.

  • Meeting etiquette

    • Arrive on time

    • Be prepared – bring paper and pen

    • Be attentive (no checking blackberry or smart phone)

    • Send agenda items ahead of time


    • Don’t bring food, drinks, etc. to a meeting where no one else is eating, drinking

    • Know when to go ‘off-line’

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  • Every office has a political aspect

  • It’s not all bad

  • Know who has the power

  • Understand how and why things get done in your office and organization

  • Realize that moving up, means more politics

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Top 10 Career Killers

10. Complaining and whining (on or off-line) – saying or implying – “That’s not my job.”

9. Expecting and/or requesting ‘exceptions’

8. Ignoring suggestions, not being open to honest feedback

7. Discussing compensation, performance reviews w/coworkers

6. Being a maverick

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Career Killers – cont.

5. Failure to follow through

4. Inability to grasp larger picture

3. Resisting change and new directions

2. Ignoring the chain of command - going over our heads

1. Allowing us to be blindsided

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Top 10 Career Builders

  • Developing a plan for your career path

  • Being reliable, showing up in all ways

  • Taking responsibility

  • Continuous learning

    6. Being a team player

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Career Builders – cont.

  • Understanding office priorities and acting accordingly

  • Innovative thinking

  • Showing initiative and energy- delivering more than expected

  • Sharing information

    1. Knowing when to stay silent

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Other Tidbits

  • Attitude matters as much, if not more than, aptitude

  • As responsibility increases

    • connection to individual tasks decreases

    • so delegation becomes more important

  • Everyone has someone to manage

    • Don’t think so? Try managing ‘up’

  • Yes, we have thought of that! (Usually.)

  • Remember l.jpg

    • Directors and supervisors talk to each other!

      • Be careful about seemingly idle chatter at conferences

      • If you are looking for a job, we probably know about it – better to enlist our help

      • Chances are we’ll seek an ‘informal’ reference – whether or not you list your prior boss on your reference sheet or not.

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    Help Yourself

    • You are always building your reputation (or not) through:

      • Your daily dress, communication and work habits

      • Your conduct at meetings, trainings, conferences and workshops

      • Professional organization participation

      • E-mails you send (internally and on listserves)

      • Face book postings

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    How bad do you want it?

    Enough to:

    • Pay your dues?

    • Further your education (formal and/or informal)?

    • Sacrifice weekends, evening, free time?

    • Change offices? Organizations? Regions (move out of state)?