Lessons: EOY FY Reflection


by Katie LaSota
@katielasota

As I am preparing for students to leave and starting to compile final reports, I have been reflecting on how my first year as a professional went. Overall, I am extremely proud of the work that I have done with my Resident Assistants (RA) and my building programming. I think that I learned the most about being a supervisor to the RA population.  Before I became a Residence Director (RD) I supervised six front desk staff members in the Leadership and Service unit at Illinois State University. While this experience taught me a lot about how to lead meetings, implement professional development opportunities for the staff, write learning outcomes, and enforce policies nothing can be compared to supervising a population that you live with. However, I do think that I struggled this year with many things that other supervisors experience. If anyone has the key/secret to great supervision I’d love to hear it! 
 
Lesson #1
When it comes to staff dynamics, everyone plays a part. Whether they like to “stir the pot,” keep things harmonious or stay away from drama, someone plays that role. It might help to identify who is doing what because sometimes I think our students don’t realize what they are doing or how they come across.  

Lesson #2
Be balanced with giving public praise. My staff does lots of great things, but it’s hard for me to talk about their successes in public if they do not communicate what they are doing. I prefer to be over emailed so I know that they are talking and handling problems on their floor. 

Lesson #3
Sometimes the RD staff dynamics can look a lot like RA staff dynamics. I have often thought about how much group work and group think come into play in any group setting and sometimes the RDs have the same problems as the RAs. It’s important as a supervisor to treat your supervisor with respect. This should be easy to remember, but at times can get challenging. 

Lesson #4
Stress less. Make sure to make time for yourself and your staff. It’s also important to have intentional conversations with your student staff about stress and how to anticipate it. 

Lesson #5
Remember that you’re the supervisor. Sometimes your staff is going to be upset with you and sometimes it’s because they don’t understand where your decision came from. I always try to give my staff reasons for the decisions that I make. Just remember that it’s normal for them to get upset or frustrated with you at times.  

Student Affairs - the First Years

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