This is an opportunity for readers of this newsletter to anonymously ask me a question about any aspect of student recruitment, leadership, and professional or personal development. Each week I’ll post my answer for everyone to read.
Q. An Associate Director asks:
“This year I started managing some of the admission counselors. We have weekly staff meetings but most of the counselors don’t say much. This sounds silly but how I can get them to talk to me more? Thank you.”
A. Thank you for your question! What you just described is a common leadership problem. Without having additional context it’s hard for me to give you a really specific answer. Email me if you want to go even deeper on this.
The biggest piece of advice I would give you is to have fewer meetings as a group, and more 1-on-1 meetings. I’ve found that fear, or a lack of confidence, knowledge, or trust oftentimes prevents people from speaking up in group settings.
I even battle this from time to time when I lead a staff training workshop. It’s why I spend a half or a whole day meeting 1-on-1 with each admissions staff member after the group training. Everybody has questions or something to say, I promise you that.
The key to making those 1-on-1 meetings productive is to develop rapport and trust first. If they don’t know or don’t believe that you truly care, it’s going to be hard to generate any sort of real conversation. If you haven’t done it yet, ask yourself how much you really know about each counselor you manage…their wants, needs, fears, and motivations. And if the answer is “not enough” with any or all of those counselors, that’s where you need to start.
During those 1-on-1 conversations make sure you’re asking questions that will allow you to sit back, listen, and better understand their mindset.