Empowering Leaders. Empowering Change.

Feb 17, 2023

At Guild, we value investments in our staff, including robust access to continuing education and training. We believe it not only sharpens the skills of individual leaders but also improves the workplace culture for everyone at Guild. 

Last fall, we embarked on a monthly leader development series for Guild clinical leaders. In 2023, all of our managers will participate in the training. There are many reasons to do this work, but Vice President of People, Space, and Technology, Heather Besonen, said it best when she shared, “One of the top reasons that employees leave a job is poor management. When we invest in our leaders, we are investing in our entire workforce. Respected, effective leaders boost employee engagement, and employee engagement boosts retention. [It’s] a positive cyclical process.” 

The leadership development series includes topics like; the traits of empowered leaders, how to have difficult conversations, practicing radical candor, micro and macro leadership skills, and how an empowered leadership style benefits an entire team. Small group discussions, learning exercises, and self-reflection bring the material to life during the training sessions. 

While the training series is still relatively new, it’s already providing an opportunity for Guild staff to connect with one another across the organization in new ways. About this, Heather Besonen said, “A great side effect of the training series is that people leaders are building their community.” 

Community development isn’t the only result. After the first few sessions, 100 percent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the training experience would be “useful to their work.” One training participant shared, “I really appreciated the authenticity in the delivery of the training. It was clear that the presenters are passionate about supporting the leaders within the organization. The workshop was very energizing, and I’m excited to continue in the process!”

It’s not only our workplace that benefits from leadership development. Chief Clinical Officer Beth Scheetz described how developing strong, skillful, and compassionate leaders supports our staff, who work directly with clients and ultimately contributes to the best clinical work for the people we serve. Beth shared, “The work our direct practitioners do is tough, and they need to be able to trust our leadership team has the dedication, knowledge, skill, and capacity to hold space and support them at all times. This relationship allows us to do the best clinical work focused on dignity, empowerment, and whole-person wellness.”    

The challenges faced by our direct service clinical staff emphasize the need for authentic, empowered leadership, not only from the people they report to but from our organization as a whole. Heather Besonen pointed out, “At Guild, we’re asking our staff to empower people. Every day, our clinical teams serve some of the most vulnerable in our communities; they show up when others don’t. As an organization, Guild can’t just talk the talk. We need to take visible action to lift up our own people — our people leaders. By providing the training series, we’re saying in our actions that we value our people.”  

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