Mentoring and Leadership Tips
Handling Tricky Situations with Your Mentor
From the February 15, 2019 talk with Professor of Immunology and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Avery August, Ph.D. ’94:
- Acknowledge that there is a conflict or issue. Taking notice of the way you are feeling is the first step to resolving the issue.
- Diagnose the conflict. Ask yourself:
- What is the source of the conflict?
- Who is involved?
- What type of conflict is it?
- Prepare to have the conversation. Identify:
- The resolution you are hoping for and how to achieve it.
- Your assumptions about the other person involved.
- The other person’s contributions to the conflict as well as your own.
- Your attitude towards the conflict.
- Your potential triggers.
- Think through what you will say.
- Reflect again on what you hope to accomplish.
- Think through how you will start the conversation.
- Prepare ways to steer the conversation back in the desired direction if needed.
- Consider practicing with a friend.
- Know your resources. If you need additional help or support, know who to reach out to. Graduate student support can include:
- Director of Graduate Studies
- Graduate Field Assistant
- Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life Janna Lamey
- Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Jan Allen
- Associate Dean for Inclusion and Student Engagement Sara Xayarath Hernández
- Title IX Office
- Office of the Ombudsman
From the GPWomeN-PCCW Speaker Series March 4, 2019 with Cornell alumna and PCCW member Susan Klugman, Ph.D.
- Having an advisor is not the same as having a mentor. An advisor directly determines your career or curriculum, a mentor aides in your growth and development (personally, professionally, etc.).
- Find a mentor through your network. Ask around! Ask your advisor, ask fellow students, or get involved in extra-curricular activities.
- The most important quality in a mentor is availability. Your mentoring relationship won’t be beneficial if you can never interact with you mentor. You also want to find some who is knowledgeable about your field and who can serve as a positive role model, but other desirable traits (e.g. having enthusiasm, active listening, taking a personal interest in you, setting goals) are up to you.
- To organize your goals and tasks, try using the Eisenhower Box method. This can help you streamline your goals and prioritize what’s important and urgent.
Unspoken Needs: Enabling (Aging) Woman Leaders
From the GPWomeN-PCCW Speaker Series held on February 23 with Jennifer Leeds.
- Women in positions of senior leadership continue to face disproportionate challenges due to their gender, such as menopause, health concerns, and the responsibilities of caring for aging and/or ill parents.
- Due to fears of being perceived as vulnerable, distracted, unable to keep up, obsolete, or replaceable, there is virtually no conversation around, or support systems for, these challenges, leaving female senior leaders isolated and silenced when trying to navigate such difficulties.
This raises three questions:
- How can we enable women throughout the entirety of their careers?
- What is holding women back from asking for help?
- How can the next generation “pay it forward” so that the environment will be better for all down the road?
Some suggestions for company/cultural changes would be:
- Normalize menopause-in-the-workforce (just as pregnancy-in-the-workforce has been normalized in the past 50 years.
- Change the perception that women as caregivers (for children, parents, etc.) devalues them as capable, focused leaders.
- Develop mentorship programs for women in their mid-or-later careers/create a culture where being vocal about these challenges is not a career-jeopardizing endeavor.
- Offer support, even when unsolicited. Be cognizant of the cultural stigmas around aging (particularly aging women), and how that plays into the extreme gender gap at top positions of leadership, power, and authority.
Further reading on this topic:
- Perspectives of Women in Leadership Roles: Working Through The Change
- Reproducing and Resisting the Master Narrative of Decline: Midlife Professional Women’s Experiences of Aging
'Unbecoming!' Leadership Thinking for a New Era
With Young Mi Park, from the GPWomeN-PCCW Speaker Series:
- The world today is facing three tectonic changes: the burgeoning development of technology, increasing globalization, and the growing emphasis on creation and self-actualization. In a rapidly changing world, leadership is more important now than ever before.
- Leaders are not necessarily managers or top executives, but they have to have a vision and the ability to bring people into that vision. Leadership is about creating the future and creating yourself and those around you.
- The barriers to becoming an effective leader are often our pre-existing ideas about what is right or wrong and our ideas about ourselves. Challenge assumptions, live authentically, and share your reality with the people around you.
- In order to be an effective leader, you have to “un-become” some of what brought you to this point and move forward with new leadership thinking. Accept yourself, forgive yourself, love yourself, and remember that you always have a choice.
- To help promote well-being and adopt an effective leadership mindset, try power posing, adopting a growth mindset, anxiety reappraisal, writing down three good things, or meditation.
Leadership Journeys: Networks, Not Ladders
From the March 20, 2018 GPWomeN-PCCW Speaker Series with Eva Sage-Gavin:
- Think of your network as an ecosystem. How can you best nourish, interact, add value to, and sustain it?
- Remember the individual impact that each of us can have on others: bring other women with you at every opportunity.
- Recommended reading: Accenture’s summary of research on gender parity in the workplace “When She Rises, We All Rise“
GPWomeN-PCCW Leadership Retreat with Julie Kumbel
Leadership, Success, and Happiness:
- “Normalize don’t pathologize” – it’s normal to feel imposter syndrome! We need to communicate with others to eliminate the feelings of shame that often accompany feeling like an imposter.
- Banish “just” – it diminishes your authority and presence. You didn’t just win an award, you won it.
- Use mindfulness and reflect on times you felt confident to combat imposter syndrome.
- Gender gaps are the cause of not only psychological (where imposter syndrome is), but also systemic, cultural, and economic barriers.
- Defining characteristics of leadership, success, and happiness is a very individual process. Thinking about a mission statement as it relates to these areas can allow us to better understand what this means to us.
- For more information on these topics, other resources that may be helpful:
While the GPWomeN-PCCW Speaker Series has concluded for 2017-18, know that we have secured additional funding for 2018-19 to continue this. Stay tuned for topics next year about women’s professional development on the GPWomeN Facebook page.
Women Leading from Anywhere on Stage
On September 4, Dean Lynn Perry Wooten of Cornell’s Dyson Business School spoke to students about how they could become more effective leaders. This series is sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Women’s Network, the President’s Council of Cornell Women, and the Graduate School.
- Leadership is the intentional practice of lifelong and life-wide learning so that you can show up to be your best self, lean in to answer your calling, and make a positive difference. Whether you lead through small or large actions, there is room for anyone to lead no matter their role.
- Leadership begins with self-awareness. Evaluate your strengths so that you can effectively harness them and work with others whose strengths complement your own. Evaluate your values so that you know what guides you and what you stand for.
- Develop a personal leadership brand that differentiates you from competitors in the eyes of your target audience. This brand is your total perceived value and includes your experience, personality, competencies, and more. Take on activities such as special projects and leadership tasks that will help you build this brand.
- Shift your perspective from being self-focused to others-focused. Commit to actively contributing your talents and resources to a community.
- Script and strategize your leadership agenda as it relates to your values and utilizes your strengths. Be sure to include an agenda for all of the areas you lead – self, home/family, work, and community. Ask those around to help you evaluate how you perform in these areas and how you can improve.