I was given the opportunity to interview Dr. Jodie Hanzlik, Interim Vice Provost for Graduate Studies at Colorado State University (CSU), regarding her management style and experience.
Dr. Hanzlik’s (Hanzlik, 2012) typical day encompasses meetings and more meetings, as well as dealing with crises situations (‘fire-fighting;’ matters which must be dealt with NOW), effort toward long-term projects, and touching base with her office manager on a daily basis. She tells me approximately four percent of her duties are management, with the rest being efforts toward long-term goals of vision and leadership.
Her two most critical managerial problems involve transitioning into her position and ‘fire-fighting’ while still keeping the long-term projects moving. Dr. Hanzlik’s reference to transitioning refers to the fact that she was Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs until March 2011, when she was appointed to the Interim position. In March 2012 she will be named Dean of Graduate Studies, as she has been appointed to the position permanently. Dr. Hanzlik mentioned that she didn’t realize when she stepped into the interim position exactly what the leader of the Graduate School did; it is apparently a much larger job than she thought.
As part of this transition she has worked hard to communicate with her staff on learning the “ins and outs” of the position and changing processes to allow for empowerment of her employees, thereby giving them the ability to see what needs to be done and do it without needing to be told. The ‘fire-fighting’ part of the managerial problems has to do with her being able to keep her focus on long-term projects, as well as the crises in hand.
Dr. Hanzlik cites teamwork, vision, time management, and strategic planning as the essential skills she feels are needed to be a successful manager. I was not able to pin her down to only three skills.
As for managerial failure, she referred me back to the skills needed for success. A lack of vision and/or strategic planning will lead to no outcomes, essentially a “languishing”. This will lead to a lack of buy-in from colleagues, as well as a lack of empowerment, teamwork, and engaging of employees. She feels the best way to engage employees and promote teamwork is to celebrate success and provide positive reinforcement.
In her position she has seen multiple examples of managerial failure, including “nasty behavior” and lack of respect for co-workers. In fact when she first took the position and noticed this dynamic in her office, she brought in CSU’s Director of Training and Organizational Development. This director held sessions with the Graduate School staff to draw attention to behaviors that may engender discomfort or even hostility in the work place.
Dr. Hanzlik does believe in employee empowerment. She feels it is important to have workers provide input on decision-making, and that this will stimulate trust and employee confidence with skills. ...