in Higher Ed


In today’s episode I thread together what we’ve heard and learned from Jayne and Renee, along with some things I’ve learned from books on my bookshelf, and distill that into a few key ways to think and behave with a focus on inclusion, building trust, leaving space for other’s agency, and reducing harm.

51: On Humility: Retreating From The Center

a stack of four books, from bottom to top: inclusion uncomplicated by nika white; dei deconstructed by lily zheng; white feminism by koa beck; and radical humility, edited by rebekah modrak and jamie vander broek. a guitar and skateboard hang on the wall behind the books.

Understanding what parts of your brain are activated in conversations, why they’re activated, and the stories you’re telling yourself about your physiological reactions (your racing heart and churning stomach) all give insight into the neuroscience of conversations — and how you can harness that to turn difficult conversations grounded in fear into conversations that build trust.

#45 Using Neuroscience to Turn Fear to Trust in Conversations

Today’s Episode at a Glance [0:00] Listening is probably the most powerful tool in your leadership toolkit. If you open your mouth to speak, pause and ask yourself “Why am I Talking”? [ 2:25] The 3-part “Why Am I Talking?” framework. [5:46] Do you dread giving bad news at work? Or struggle knowing how to […]

#43 Why Am I Talking? (and other powerful questions)

a light-skinned woman with shoulder-length dark hair faces the camera with her hands framing her open mouth. she looks like she is yellowing. she wears a yellow blouse with a white color.

A discussion of the fourth stage of psychological safety – the safety to challenge the status quo – as form of institutionalized and acceptable dissent.

#41: The Role of Dissent in Psychological Safety

For better or worse — or honestly, just for worse — our busy-ness has become a measure of our worth. But activity is not achievement. We know this from teaching, and we can infuse this into our leadership practice.

#39: Activity is Not Achievement

a picture of bees busy on a beehive

In this episode I welcome special guest Dr. Jade Singleton, co-founder of Johnson Squared Consulting and DEI consultant at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, to discuss transformational DEI at work: what we’re getting wrong, what we’re doing right, and how we can do better. This episode at a glance: Jade shares a lot of personal history, […]

#32: Transformational DEI

“The power to trust and be trusted is an essential prerequisite to enhancing the department climate.” Mary Lou Higgerson wrote that 26 years ago, and it’s as true now as ever before. 

From “Soulless Opening Year Academic Speeches” to “Calling it Quits” to “Why 2022 is the Year of Workplace Culture,” US employees are hyperfocused on the need for inspiring leadership that fosters vibrant cultures at work. How to get there seems elusive, and so we spend time and money on surveys, 3rd party vendors, and expensive consultants to help us through. 

A large body of research is clear, though, that trust is the key to unlocking a healthy work environment: one that celebrates growth, coaches mistakes, and never resorts to fear, shame, or retaliation. This is not some made-up fantasy: I have lived and led in environments like this, and you can too. In this episode I share my favorite strategies, proven over more than 10 years of experimentation, for infusing your leadership and your team with deep and rewarding trust. 

#15: From Toxic to Vibrant: The One Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Campus Climate

Here’s a peek at Getting Clear With Others: Module Two of The Leadership Academy. For you Badgers trained in the English Dept, this episode is also kind of a love letter to Brad Hughes. 🧡

#11: Getting Clear With Others

When PWIs use “race” as the primary signifier of diversity, we burden our colleagues with black and brown skin and reify structural and behavioral racism. We can do better.

Unleashing the Creative Power of Diversity by Creating Psychological Safety

Using race as the primary signifier for campus diversity puts undue burden on colleagues with black and brown skin. It reifies structural and behavioral racism and it prevents teams from harnessing the full power of their diveri

#8: Unleashing the Power of Diversity by Creating Psychological Safety