Participants in the first-ever WVU Medicine Pivotal Leadership Academy (PLA) recently re-engaged at a session titled “The Power of Trust.” Presented by Ralph Brandt from the RDR Group, the workshop focused on the following key concepts.

  • Trust is important to any relationship and you must work at developing it every day. Trust can be developed by being nice, responsible and forgiving.
  • Your intentions are not necessarily the impact. You are judged by your impact not your intentions because the only person who truly knows your intentions is you.
  • To have a high level of trust within a group, team or organization, you must deal with the truth.
  • You cannot control how you get treated, but you can control how you respond. If you cannot manage your responses to other people, you will fail as a leader. Take ownership for your actions and attitude.
  • Three key trust builders are integrity, caring and accountability.

Facilitated by the Center for Education and Organizational Development, the PLA is helping high-performing employees develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to become future leaders within the organization.

Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center Clinical Specialist Alex Shillingburg, Pharm.D., said she has learned in PLA about communication, specifically how to handle situations that are emotional or critical. “People need to receive information in different ways in order to get the most favorable outcome,” Shillingburg noted. “I have taken many of these lessons and applied them to my personal and professional conversations. I have noticed that simply by being more aware of the factors that can lead to poor communication, I already come into the conversation with a different perspective.

“In particular, I am working on being more patient. In the past, I tended to fill any quiet space with my thoughts, which could lead to me dominating a conversation or getting off track from the true point. I am working to become comfortable with pauses and quiet spaces to allow those who process information differently from me to have the time to be an active participant in the conversation.”

Joe Kraynak, a technician in WVU Medicine’s Healthcare Technology Management department, shared that, so far, his greatest takeaway from PLA has been a better sense of self awareness.

“I tend to think more about how my actions, reactions and decisions will affect others,” Kraynak said. “I am learning to manage situations better than I did prior to entering the program. I have learned to make positive changes where I can and to accept the things that occur that I have no control over. I feel like I am better able to recognize things that I have done well as well as the things that I can improve upon. I hope to influence others by setting a positive example.”

Kraynak added that he has made improving his listening skills a priority because of his training in PLA. “In order to implement new ideas, we have to first listen to the talented people around us,” he said. “I think we must encourage and reward out-of-the-box thinking, and create an environment where employees feel enabled and empowered to express their ideas openly. I hope to help create an environment of trust, where no one is afraid to speak openly and take action on potential ideas or solutions to problems. In order to implement new ideas, we must believe in ourselves, trust our team members, value their opinions and support our leaders. We can’t let the fear of failure prevent us from acting, and when things don’t go as smoothly as we expect, we should learn from our shortcomings and continue to press forward.”