By DJ Menifee
Western Illinois University
As I took my seat and prepared my pen and notepad for notes, I asked myself “What can I possibly learn from MMI?”
As the first session began, we began to identify our communication/behavioral style. Upon understanding our own style, it was also important to identify the communication style of your superiors along with your colleagues. Understanding each individual’s style (including your own), enables you to collaborate effectively in the work place. It enables you to take on responsibilities that others won’t consider because it doesn’t fit their style. It enables you to respond to your colleagues and superiors in their language. Can your communication style change? Yes, because as you continue to develop and continue to work with different types of professionals, you will strengthen in each category.
The most beneficial session (and the hardest to swallow), was about self-evaluation. Are you as good as you think you are? Are you ready to move up to the next level? Have you done the best you can do as it relates to your responsibilities? Does my boss know what my career goal is? Does my boss know what projects I’m interested in? Can my boss and colleagues easily identify my strengths? Did I know what my career aspirations were? These are questions that I hadn’t asked myself. As I began to reflect on these questions, I learned a lot about myself. I wasn’t as good as I thought. I didn’t tell my boss what I wanted in my career or share with him what projects I was interested in. I hadn’t identified for myself what I wanted to do in my career (become a director or an enrollment manager). I also hadn’t taken appropriate action to improve in areas that I was weakest. There were many areas that I could change/improve if I took action.
Other topics included: what is enrollment management?, understanding that a leader doesn’t need a title, the panel discussion with Deans and Directors, taking the next step, and resumes & interviews.
What did I learn? I learned to take action. Soon after MMI, I met with my Director about my career goals, annual goal as it related to my position with the institution, and personal goals. I took the opportunities available via IACAC committees to get the supervising, managing, and collaborating experience that wasn’t readily available within the workplace (due to position and location), I requested a mentor that could continue to help me develop as a middle manager while seeking the opportunity to mentor others, I developed a running resume (be prepared for the opportunity), and enrolled into a certificate program that relates to my career goal…becoming an enrollment manager. The most important thing that I have done has been to be clear about my interest. If I don’t make my interest/desires clear, how can I expect results? I have a plan in place to reach my career goals within a given timeframe, for without a plan, goals are dreams wasted. MMI also made me realize that it’s more about the team, the institution, and the students, than it is about my individual gain. I ask myself the same question every day. “How can I positively impact someone’s life today?,” while representing my team, my institution, and my profession. Lastly, I now have a band of brothers and sisters (fellow MMI alumni) that I can count on, lean on, and provide support to, as we continue to develop in our profession (Salute to MMI 2012!).
Middle Management Institute
After a few years of experience under your belt, you may be wondering what’s next. Do you know your leadership style? Are you aware of your capabilities and limitations? Are you already operating on the next level before seeking the position? Are you demonstrating the initiative to take on additional responsibilities? Is your resume giving you an opportunity? Do you know the difference between management and leadership? Are your career aspirations clear to your supervisor?
At the Middle Management Institute, we will cover the concepts mentioned above along with exposing you to enrollment management, leadership style assessment, how to manage up, and ideas on how to add additional responsibilities. You will also benefit from a panel of distinguished enrollment managers, deans, and directors and get the opportunity to learn about them, their journey, their management/leadership style, and what they look for in an up-and-coming admission professional.
The goal is to enlighten you on different concepts that can help you grow and develop into the admissions professional you seek to be.