Connecting with People and Ideas

Last week, I attended an Educause Connect conference in downtown Chicago. Connect conferences are highly interactive and relatively small (only a couple hundred people instead of the thousands you sometimes see at large higher ed IT conferences), so you get to know your fellow attendees pretty well. Connect sessions are a bit like flipped classrooms; attendees are encouraged to participate and sessions involve lots of group conversations.

Patrick Wagman from Stanford University led a session about identifying your behavior tendencies at work and how to be aware of how they might agree (or not) with your colleagues. Discovering that I’m a “Stabilizer” was a bit like reading my horoscope in the paper and really identifying with it.¬†“Yes, I do love harmony and feeling appreciated!” Recognizing your own behaviors and perhaps identifying your colleagues’ needs and behaviors can lead to greater understanding and better teamwork.

Monique Snowden, one of the keynote speakers at the event, spoke about the importance of mentors in our professional lives. Snowden, a former assistant dean at Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies, was lucky enough to have many mentors who pushed her to reach her goals in her career. Hearing how even short but enthusiastic and probing mentor sessions could have such a positive effect was truly inspiring. Snowden reminds us to be bold and to ask people we admire and respect to be our mentors, no matter what stage we might be at in our careers.

 

image via PublicDomainPictures

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