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: