Success: Do you have what it takes?

Some advice from one generation of leaders to the next

by Phil Hammond

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

You get up in the morning. Get in your car, call Uber, hop on the T or settle yourself in a home office. How do you do it? How do you motivate yourself to be successful in your chosen field? How do construction managers, facility directors and project managers operate effectively, successfully and cooperatively within project teams?

It is estimated that by 2020, 46 percent of the workforce in the US will be between the ages of 24 and 39. For baby boomers, like me, that means preparing to hand over leadership in the workplace to members of the millennial generation. For some, including some millennials, this raises an important question: are millennials ready to lead?  Josh Bersin, in Forbes Magazine, argues they are not.  Pointing to a recent study which showed 30 percent of millennials themselves felt they were not prepared for the responsibilities of leadership due to a lack of confidence managing employees and resolving conflicts, Bersin notes, “this generation isn’t developed for leadership now” (Bersin, 2013 ).

As the Director of Graduate Programs at Wentworth Institute of Technology, I have reviewed hundreds of resumes from degree candidates who measure their success on the basis of their education, their job experience and their responsibilities. But, degrees do not necessarily make for good managers. Success requires more.

Todd Davis, Chief People Officer and Executive Vice President at FranklinCovey and author of Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work, points out that managers are measured by the results they produce. Good managers get good results. But, as leaders who get results through the people they lead, Davis notes, “the most important competency [a manager] can develop and then continue to perfect each day is [their] ability to influence others” (Davis, 2017).

Jason Arnold, consulting associate for The Ken Blanchard Companies and partner for Inspire Leadership Genius, observes that, with changes in technology and agile processes, leadership practices in today’s workplace are also changing. Gone is the outdated, hierarchical model for achieving success, where managers command and control the workplace. In its place is a more decentralized leadership style that places leaders at every level of the organization and emphasizes success through cross-functional teams working in collaboration.

In my 40 plus years of experience, while influence and the ability to work collaboratively are important, one of the most vital characteristics of a successful leader is emotional intelligence. According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.”  It includes being aware or your emotions, harnessing them for a particular task, and being able to direct and control both your own emotions as well as those of the members of your team.

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace (Ishikawa, 1/23/17)

To be effective, young leaders must have a solid understanding of how their emotions and actions affect the people around them. The better a leader relates to and works with others, the more successful he or she will be.

How about you? Do you have what it takes to become a successful leader? Take this test and find out. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/personality/emotional-intelligence-test

When you develop self-awareness, and the ability to control your emotions as well as those of the people around you, you will be able to motivate others and inspire empathy, and you will be on your way to becoming not just someone with the pedigree and responsibilities of a leader, but the next generation of successful leaders.

Phil Hammond is Director of Graduate Programs in the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Wentworth Institute of Technology.

References:

Bersin, J. (9/12/13). “Millennials Will Soon Rule the World.” Forbes. Retrieved from:https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2013/09/12/millenials-will-soon-rule-the-world-but-how-will-they-lead/#631d375f227a 
Davis, T. (10/22/17), “The Most Powerful Tool We Have is Influence: Here’s How to Wield It.”Success Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUrqgCG5Snw
Ishikawa, H. (1/23/17). “Making the Case for Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace,” EnactLeadership.com. Retrieved from: http://enactleadership.com/making-the-case-for-emotional-intelligence-in-the-workplace/

When a degree isn’t enough

career services for adult learners

Most working adults cite “career advancement” as their primary reason for returning to school. Among online students, more than three quarters pursue programs for “career-focused” reasons (Magda, 2018).

But, sometimes having advanced skills and knowledge, and even a degree, isn’t enough to get you where you want to be. Working adults need help identifying new opportunities, building resumes, and preparing for interviews in a new field or industry.  In the following post, Janel Juba of Wentworth’s Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development shares some insights on what working adults can expect from career services:

At the Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development, we deliver the necessary resources to be effective in the workplace, provide essential job search strategies and teach students how to find jobs that align with their classroom knowledge, skills and interests. Our mission is to EQUIP students with the necessary tools to EVOLVE their skills and ultimately EXCEL in their industry. Continue reading

Orientation 101

How one college dean helps adult students get their bearings going back to school

by Deborah Wright

hands holding a compass and an open map
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

My career in higher education has focused primarily on non-traditional adult students. Unlike most people, when I close my eyes and think of a college student, I see the single mother, the veteran, and the full-time employee (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2018). And while the definition of who an adult student is – financially independent, attending school part-time, employed full-time or someone who just delayed postsecondary education (Nadworny, 2018) – there are a few things that I have observed that all adult students have in common. Continue reading

bird by bird: how to thrive, not merely survive, in the new academic year

black and white birds on a wire
Photo by Ridham Nagralawala on Unsplash
by Kelly Jenkins Lin

Author and speaker, Anne Lamott, tells the story of her ten-year-old brother who was trying to write a report on birds. Despite having nearly 3 months to work on it, he had put it off until the night before it was due. Close to tears, he sat at the family’s kitchen table surrounded by books and pencils and clean paper, overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Then Lamott’s father sat down beside her brother, put his arm around his shoulders and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird” (Lamott, 1994).

For many adults, returning to school can feel like trying to write a report the night before it is due. On the threshold of a new academic year, surrounded by stacks of books and pencils and clean paper they feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies ahead and wonder how they will ever make it through. Below are five steps that will not only help students to survive, but to thrive, in the new academic year. Continue reading

Credit Where Credit is Due

Put Prior Learning Assessment to work for you

by Kelly Jenkins Lin

Rich Rago
Rich Rago, BSPM 13; MSFM 15

 This is the second in a two-part post about PLA. To read part I, click here: Part I

When Richard Rago decided to pursue a college degree, he had 10 years of work experience but no formal classroom education. He worried that might put him at a disadvantage until one of his professors pointed out that, thanks to his many years in the field, Rago knew more than most of his classmates. The professor then suggested Rago try to get credit for his on-the-job learning. He did and with the credit he earned Rago was able to opt out of 3 classes, or the equivalent of one semester. “It was definitely worth it,” he says. Continue reading

You Deserve Some Credit

Rich Rago
Rich Rago, BSPM 13; MSFM 15

Earn credit for what you know, no matter where you learned it.

by Kelly Jenkins Lin

Richard Rago had been working in construction and project management for 10 years before he decided to return to school.

“I was passed over for a promotion,” he explains, “not because I didn’t have experience but because I didn’t have a degree. That was the push I needed.” At first, his goal was to earn an associates degree from Wentworth but, in 2009, with encouragement from faculty in the College of Professional and Continuing Education, he enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Project Management.

That was when Rago discovered how valuable his job experience was.  Continue reading

How Far Will You Go?

Man sitting at a desk in a classroom
Joe Masello, BSPM 2015

Joe Masello had a dream.

“My goal was to earn an associates degree,” he says, “but then I found out about the Project Management program at Wentworth and immediately transferred.” A graduate of Wentworth’s Master Electrician program, Joe knew he could count on a degree from Wentworth to help him achieve his dreams.

But he didn’t realize just how far it would take him. Continue reading

6 Things Every Part-time Student Can Do (Right Now) To Be Successful

Friendly, happy adult education students sitting in class.

Going back to school is a big commitment. And it can feel overwhelming at times. Below are 6 things that every part-time student can do to help manage the workload and be successful in their program.

  1. Learn to say “no:” Establish school as a priority and set boundaries. Let your friends and family know that you are in school and that you might not be available for certain events and activities.  Ask for their support and understanding.  You have made a commitment to your studies, and you are setting a good example for others by following through on your commitment.

Continue reading

How Fast can the MBTA Go? The Future of Rapid Transit in Boston

The massive snows of 2015 have long since melted, but they did leave behind one, positive, long-term effect. The MBTA is finally getting the attention, and funding, it needs to bring existing rapid transit, trolley and commuter rail systems up to a “state of good repair.” As a result, a lengthy list of deferred maintenance will be addressed over the next several years, and the long-delayed Green Line extension to Somerville, 30-years in the making, is now fully under construction, with completion scheduled for 2022. Progress comes slowly with major transportation infrastructure in the Boston area. Continue reading