Building Distrust in Leadership

Posted on April 28th, 2015 in Leadership Institute by Jan Bilgen

When we are in leadership positions we are constantly working with a team. Understanding team dynamics is imperative to working smoothly. This post will cover ways you can create distrust with the people you work with.

1 – Send A Detailed List Of Tasks Before A Project Begins.

Sending detailed lists of what to do signifies unwarranted distrust. The detailed list assumes someone will be error-prone even before they take the first step forward.

2 – Thank Someone Only For Insignificant Things Worked On.

Receiving this limited gratitude is like getting a ribbon for participation. No one wants to be thanked for just showing up and then ignored for the bigger achievements done. For the person delivering the small words of gratitude, they want to feel like they are saying “I trust you” yet they are really saying “You can do the small things well but not the big things.”

3 – Host A Brainstorming Session So Only Your Ideas Can Be Adopted.

A big meeting is scheduled to brainstorm new ideas on how to resolve a problem or undertake an initiative. The reality of the situation is the one calling the “brainstorming” session is just calling a session to validate their ideas. No real brainstorming actually occurs. These sessions are just tense re-hashing of old ideas, ones that certain leaders may be more comfortable.

4 – Change the Team’s Direction When the Manager is out of the Office.

The ultimate distrust is when another manager changes a team’s direction or introduces a new approach when the team’s manager is out of the office. Distrust is abound, along with undercutting the credibility of the manager. Sucking the credibility out of another leader is worse than firing them.

5 – Talk Endlessly At Someone.

Conversations are two-way. For some though, conversations are an opportunity to lecture. These “talks” happen under the guise of a conversation but they are really just lecture time. Distrust is built in one-way lectures promoted as a conversation.

With reading this post I hope you do not try anything of these things, and if you do participate in these actions, try not to.


4 Mistakes Some Leaders Make

Posted on April 14th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Jan Bilgen

With being human we all make mistakes, it is inevitable. Mistakes can actually be a blessing in disguise though. By committing a mistake, this gives us an opportunity to learn and grow. You may currently hold a leadership position, and if so, this post will point out some mistakes that leaders make.

1. Delegate findings and developing leaders

This has deep ramifications for the future of the organization.  You are the leader.   Finding and developing future leaders is your responsibility.  Don’t delegate it.

2. Confuse management with leadership

Most organizations are over managed and under led.  These are two distinctive and complimentary systems of action.

  • Leaders press for change.  Managers promote stability.
  • Leaders provide inspiration, vision and set direction.
  • Leaders prepare organizations for change and help them cope with it.
  • Leaders motivate people.  Managers control and problem solve.
  • Leaders recognize and reward success.

3.  Fail to create or institutionalize a culture of leadership within the organization

Creating the proper culture to develop leaders starts at the top.  It’s the leaders’ responsibility to create the culture to grow future leaders.

4. Fail to clearly communicate the vision of the organization

This needs to be done early and often.  Leaders need to clearly communicate the vision and direction of the organization.




Posted on April 7th, 2015 in Perspectives on Leadership by Jan Bilgen

This week one of our own interns in the Student Involvement Office decided to write a post. Hope Schmidt, who is the Community Service Intern, wrote about her spring break experience with Habitat for Humanity, and how it helped foster leadership skills.

“Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.”

This year, our Habitat for Humanity campus chapter (consisting of: 49 students, 3 advisors, and 1 bus driver) went to Raleigh, North Carolina for the 2015 spring break Collegiate Challenge.

Sure, I know what you’re thinking-staying up all night, sleeping in and laying on the beach all day sound like amazing aspects of spring break, but doesn’t building homes for those who need them sound much more rewarding than a golden tan?

We departed from UW-Whitewater at 7pm on 3/21 and arrived at Hayes-Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina by 3pm on 3/22.  On Monday, we spent the day enjoying the ocean and beach culture at Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington, N.C. Then, on Tuesday, we got put to work! For the next five days, we would collaborate with Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, N.C., building and repairing homes.

You might be thinking…”How am I supposed to know how to use a power tool?’ or, “I have NO experience in construction,” but, I was thinking the same exact things! The amazing part about Habitat for Humanity is that you can come onto a work site with no experience and you are immediately put to work regardless (safely, of course!). All of the staff and other returning volunteers were very friendly and accommodating for those who needed the assistance.

Besides donating your time and energy to something bigger than you, you have the opportunity to build upon leadership skills! The time spent working with others and collaborating with other Habitat for Humanity chapters is all valuable and provides you with skills needed to succeed in becoming a stronger leader.

If you are interested in learning about what it takes to build a home from the foundation up, making new friendships, and traveling for spring break, I HIGHLY recommend becoming a part of Habitat for Humanity and participating in their 2016 collegiate challenge spring break! Who knows, you may find your knew favorite passion is construction!

The Leadership Challenge

Posted on April 1st, 2015 in Leadership Institute by Jan Bilgen

This weeks post is from Ariel Powers-Schaub. She supervises Arey, Benson, And Lee halls this year. She is a UWW alum and this is her fourth year here.

My favorite book about leadership I’ve ever read is The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. I read this book in my Master of Ed program here at UWW. I was so excited while I was reading it because it finally felt like something I could use day-to-day! It didn’t feel like just another lofty book about leadership, and it didn’t leave me feeling like, “what is leadership, anyway?” It felt like a simple guide to leading others!  What Kouzes and Posner (and I’m sure their research assistants) did was survey all different kinds people all over the world about what they saw in strong leaders, and they come down to these five necessary things leaders do. In short:

1.       Model the way

Find your voice and affirm shared values.

2.       Inspire a Shared Vision

Envision the future and enlist others in that common vision.

3.       Challenge the Process

Take risks and learn from mistakes.

4.       Enable Others to Act

Foster collaboration and strengthen others.

5.       Encourage the Heart

Recognize contributions and celebrate victories!

If you want to learn more about their awesome study and finding – and seriously get some good ideas about exactly how to lead – check out their book for the library, or check out their website just for student leaders:


Trust & Leadership

Posted on March 17th, 2015 in Leadership Institute by Jan Bilgen

Developing trust with your coworkers is an integral part in order to have a productive work environment.  I know that it is hard for me to trust people at times, but it needs to happen so I can develop successful relationships. We all know that at the base of any relationship trust is required.  If we do not develop a sense of trust, a leader will most likely not have a good relationship with others.

Here are some ways to gain trust with your peers:

  • Do What You Say You Will Do – This the ultimate way to gain their trust. It means following through with what say you will do.
  • Trust & Nurture Them To Develop – To gain trust we need to trust others. It is a two-way street. We need to be patient and give them the time to grow and develop instead of forcing the issue.
  • Do The Right Thing – Regardless of whether or not anyone is watching you, integrity cannot be compromised. It takes many years to establish your credibility, but it only takes a few minutes to ruin it.
  • Care For Your People – Before we ask our people to do something for us, we must appeal to them and touch their heart.
  • Serve Your People – When we serve our people, we ensure that their interest is taken into consideration. By doing so, we don’t focus on who gets the credit. Our focus shifts to getting the job done.

Developing trust is vital to any relationship.  I know for some it might take quite some time for trust to develop, since it can easily be broken, but when it develops it will be worth it!


Conflict in the Workplace

Posted on March 10th, 2015 in Tips and Secrets by Jan Bilgen

It is unfortunate that not everyone gets along. There are multiple personality types and leadership styles that do not mesh with everyone. In order to create an environment that is conducive for everyone, we must learn how to adapt to peoples style and seek to understand the issue.  This post will provide you with 6 tips on how to do deal with conflict in the workplace.

Be positive

This is perhaps the most essential part of conflict resolution.  If you are looking at all problems and conflicts through a negative lens, you are not going to find an efficient and productive solution.  Look for the best in each side of arguments or parties involved and try to highlight these views or ideas so that they can be the foundation of a solution that all parties can agree upon.

Define the issue at hand

Oftentimes conflicts are brought about by misunderstanding or miscommunication.  This is why it is important to define what the problem is, so that people understand why there is a disagreement.  Doing this will make sure no one is arguing unnecessarily and can save time and energy.

Do your homework

Make sure you understand the other person’s views.  As mentioned above, conflict is often the result of a misunderstanding, so be sure you understand why other people feel the way they feel.


Trust is absolutely vital to having a workplace that functions efficiently and productively. It is also extremely important when it comes to conflict management and resolution.

If people trust their coworkers and their superiors to do what is in the best interest of the company as a whole, then people will be more likely to accept resolutions that they did not initially prefer.

Encourage discussion

In situations where people disagree, ignoring people’s opinions or views will only make things worse.  If someone feels as if they haven’t been taken seriously or given a chance to explain why they hold a belief, it will leave them feeling left out or that their opinion isn’t important.

Stick to the facts

Emotions can flare during a conflict, and remembering that the facts are important is essential.  If you handle a conflict based on the facts, and solve it accordingly, emotions will settle because the right decision will have been made.

You do not have to like everyone you meet, but it essential to respect others.  Being that most people work with the same individuals on a regular basis, it is important understand how you function, as well as others.


What Type of Leader Are You?

Posted on March 3rd, 2015 in Perspectives on Leadership by Jan Bilgen


It is important to know your leadership style so you can be an effective leader.  There are a multitude of different styles, but here are a few important ones that I retrieved from


A laissez-faire leader lacks direct supervision of employees and fails to provide regular feedback to those under his supervision. Highly experienced and trained employees requiring little supervision fall under the laissez-faire leadership style. However, not all employees possess those characteristics. This leadership style hinders the production of employees needing supervision. The laissez-faire style produces no leadership or supervision efforts from managers, which can lead to poor production, lack of control and increasing costs.


The autocratic leadership style allows managers to make decisions alone without the input of others. Managers possess total authority and impose their will on employees. No one challenges the decisions of autocratic leaders. Countries such as Cuba and North Korea operate under the autocratic leadership style. This leadership style benefits employees who require close supervision. Creative employees who thrive in group functions detest this leadership style.


Often called the democratic leadership style, participative leadership values the input of team members and peers, but the responsibility of making the final decision rests with the participative leader. Participative leadership boosts employee morale because employees make contributions to the decision-making process. It causes them to feel as if their opinions matter. When a company needs to make changes within the organization, the participative leadership style helps employees accept changes easily because they play a role in the process. This style meets challenges when companies need to make a decision in a short period.


Managers using the transactional leadership style receive certain tasks to perform and provide rewards or punishments to team members based on performance results. Managers and team members set predetermined goals together, and employees agree to follow the direction and leadership of the manager to accomplish those goals. The manager possesses power to review results and train or correct employees when team members fail to meet goals. Employees receive rewards, such as bonuses, when they accomplish goals.


The transformational leadership style depends on high levels of communication from management to meet goals. Leaders motivate employees and enhance productivity and efficiency through communication and high visibility. This style of leadership requires the involvement of management to meet goals. Leaders focus on the big picture within an organization and delegate smaller tasks to the team to accomplish goals.

If you do not know what type of leader you are, there are many different quizzes online that will be able to help you. Here are a couple:

Here is the website link if you are interested in more information:


City Year

Posted on February 24th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Jan Bilgen




Are you looking for leadership experience outside of the university aspect? If so, then City Year maybe for you! City Year is an organization that seeks to demonstrate, improve and promote the concept of national service as a means of building a stronger democracy. City Year unites a diverse corps of young adults, ages 17 to 24, for a demanding year of full-time community service, leadership development and civic engagement.

Here is what a fellow Warhawk, Jasmina Badic, had to say about her experience volunteering with the program:

City Year’s “Give a Year” program is a great way of gaining leadership skills. You take a year off from school to mentor, tutor, and be a role model to the youth ranging from elementary school to high school students. Not only do you gain leadership skills, you also grow as a person while you help end the drop-out crisis at a school. You are put in a team of diverse individuals who not only have their own group of youth they mentor, but you also have leadership roles. These leadership roles can range from being a Math coordinator, ELA coordinator, attendance coordinator, or a behavior coordinator for your team. You provide help for your team in those areas while working with the youth.  The closest office is in Milwaukee which mainly works with Milwaukee Public School (MPS). I can say that I really enjoyed my experience with the organization because it helped me become a stronger leader.

During the 2013-2014 school year, I took a year off to serve at City Year Milwaukee where I wanted to give back to my community. I already had some experience as a leader on campus, but what drew me to the program was the fact that your are helping eliminate the drop-out rate in schools, as well as having Friday office days where you are trained to help the youth, as well as how to be more outspoken. I was assigned to a diverse team of eight individuals who all brought something unique to the team. Although we brought something different to the team, we each worked together intertwining all of our strengths as well as working with our weaknesses. What was so great about this program is that they help turn your weaknesses into your strengths. I can say that at the end of the program I grew as a leader by being more comfortable talking in public, learned how to work around obstacles and grew as a person by helping others.

If someone was to go through the program I would have to say that they would gain a lot of networking opportunities, different leadership skills, how to spice up your resume after City Year and you would gain a second family working with your school team. You will also build bonds with your focus group where they can teach you a thing or two about your own leadership style.

I highly encourage anyone to take the opportunity to serve for City Year. Not only will you have leadership skills, but you will have created bonds with your students as well as your team during your corps year.

If you are interested or would like more information, call the local Milwaukee chapter at 414-882-2023 or visit


30 Overlooked Acts of Leadership

Posted on February 17th, 2015 in Perspectives on Leadership by Jan Bilgen

When thinking about leaders, there are some pronouns that come to people minds; some being proud, courageous, strong, and exemplary, but what about those people who do not always show these characteristics?  An article that I found identifies other leadership qualities that are often disregarded.

30 Overlooked Acts of Leadership Courage:

  1. Speak up when you know you’ll be judged harshly.
  2. Shut up and let others have their say even if you think you are right.
  3. Give critical feedback to someone in power when you know it might have unfavorable consequences.
  4. Receive critical feedback from others with grace.
  5. Develop others without fear even when you know they may become smarter than you are.
  6. Be kind to those who disagree with you, because they might teach you something.
  7. Coach and mentor others even if it’s not part of your job description.
  8. Say no when everyone else is saying yes.
  9. Say yes when everyone else is saying no.
  10. Accept responsibility for the shameful or embarrassing things you’ve done.
  11. Take the high road when you know how difficult it can be.
  12. Walk away when the fight isn’t worth it.
  13. Stay and fight for the greater good when everyone else is running away from it.
  14. Reflect deeply when you really just want to take action.
  15. Love your followers even when you’re unhappy with them.
  16. Forgive others’ failures when you know they’ve learned an important lesson.
  17. Give others credit even when you’d like to take it for yourself.
  18. Keep going when the going gets really, really tough.
  19. Connect with your heart when your head wants to rule.
  20. Connect with your head when your emotions are threatening to take over.
  21. Ask “what’s right” when you prefer to be critical.
  22. Be curious when you’d rather be judgmental.
  23. Step out of your comfort zone when you hate stepping out or being uncomfortable.
  24. Listen to others deeply, without giving advice.
  25. Ask when you really want to tell.
  26. Do things a different way even though it’s “always been done this way”.
  27. See the potential in others when everyone else sees what’s wrong with them.
  28. Admit your failings when you think you’re supposed to be perfect.
  29. Control your impulses and desires when the temptation is greatest.
  30. Reduce suffering because you can.

I hope after reading this blog you can describe yourself as a leader. If not, stop by the Student Involvement Office where we can make that happen!


Spring Involvement Fair

Posted on February 10th, 2015 in Perspectives on Leadership by Jan Bilgen

Here is a message from Brendon Mendoza, who is one of the Involvement Interns in the Student Involvement Office,

Hey everyone!

Thinking about getting involved in some way this semester? There is an involvement fair this Wednesday 11-4pm in the Hamilton Room.  It is never too late to get involved!  You can join an organization or club anytime, no matter if you’re a first year student or senior, there’s always an opportunity to get involved on campus!

I was a late bloomer who didn’t really get involved on campus until I was a junior.  As I got involved on campus, I started to regret not getting involved earlier. The best advice I have for anyone interested in any organization or club is to just give a try, because you never know how much fun you will have and the amount of friends you can make. I always thought that you had to be freshman to get involved with an organization, but that definitely is not the case!

Many organizations and clubs host unique events that you might not experience otherwise. When I was a part of the Men’s Rugby Club we would travel across the country compete against other teams.  If I never joined the team I wouldn’t had the opportunity to travel and experience new areas. You never know where you might get to travel with an org or who you might meet by trying new things. I have met so many people through being involved with organizations on campus. If you like meeting new people and making friends joining an org is a great way to do that!

Check out the involvement fair or an organization on JOIN! , you have nothing to lose!


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