Are You Ready to Lead?

This post was written by Jennie Yelvington, Sr. HR Professional for Organization and Professional Development.

Are you interested in moving into a formal leadership role, but not sure how to get there? The first step is to examine whether you have and are exhibiting the types of skills necessary to be successful in the role. That assessment can help to inform your development plan, prepare you for more responsibility, and highlight your capacity to others.

The following behaviors will help you demonstrate leadership ability no matter your current role:

  1. Identify your goals, discuss with your supervisor, and actively work toward them. Leaders need to be continually learning and developing themselves to maintain self-awareness and deal effectively with change and complexity.
  2. Take on stretch assignments. Look for opportunities to lead projects or initiatives, serve on committees, suggest improvements, and provide value added service.
  3. Learn about the university and how it functions. Leaders need to consider how issues impact not only their unit, but also their department, college, and the university. Familiarize yourself with issues impacting higher education, attend events that allow you to hear other leaders speak, and network broadly to better understand the landscape. While it is normal to think about how a situation impacts you personally, leaders place a priority on what best suits the mission, goals, and values of the organization.
  4. Strengthen your “people” skills. Effective leaders know how to engage and motivate their team, work collaboratively with their peers, and influence the leaders above them. Being empathic, listening for understanding, communicating effectively, and handling difficult conversations are baseline skills that every leader needs.
  5. Be a problem solver. Rather than complaining about issues you see (or ignoring them), develop and share ideas for addressing them. Ask good questions and get input from others who are involved and impacted as you attempt to identify possible solutions. Even if your ideas aren’t implemented, you build your capacity to solve problems and demonstrate that you are capable and proactive.
  6. Understand your biases and demonstrate inclusion. It is easy to always turn to our “go to” people who think like we do, but that isn’t generally the best approach. We all have biases, but once we understand them we can consciously work to include others who might offer valuable, different perspectives.
  7. Model professionalism. Dress in appropriate attire for the role you would like to secure, handle problems and disappointments with grace and maturity, move quickly from venting to sound action, keep up on skills necessary for your role, avoid engaging in gossip and redirect others who do, consistently follow through on commitments, be respectful of the others’ time and opinions, be actively supportive and helpful to your colleagues and leaders.

Talk with your supervisor to get their perspective on how you are doing in the above areas. HR Organization and Professional Development offers several instructor-led courses that can help you strengthen capacity in these areas. Find all current courses on the HR website and consider taking the following courses:

  • Honing Your Emotional Intelligence
  • Communicating and Influencing Up
  • Essentials of Project Management
  • Process Mapping and Analysis
  • Crucial Conversations
  • Crucial Accountability
  • Sustainable High Performance
  • Thriving Through Change
  • From Distracted to Productive
  • Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work

In addition to instructor-led courses, current staff and faculty have access to elevateU, which offers free access to eBooks, videos, and online self-paced courses to help build your leadership skills. Learn more about elevateU on the HR website and try these leadership-focused learning opportunities through elevateU:

For more career advice, read this interview with Sharon Butler, Associate Vice President of Human Resources. Butler shares lessons she’s learned about becoming a great leader and, more specifically, addresses how women can get ahead in the workplace.

Job of the week – Project Administrator

This week’s job of the week is a Project Administrator (#571786) for Information Technology Services. This position is seeking an individual to provide support and coordinate project requests.

The responsibilities for this role include collaborating with stakeholders, project partners and internal and external offices. Other responsibilities include developing testing, data management and data entry.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge acquired in a four year college degree; three to five years of related and progressively more expansive work experience in a filed related to the position including planning and managing projects; communications content management (written, verbal, digital) experience with word processing, database, spreadsheet, presentation, calendaring software, desktop publishing and/or project management software; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Get active this spring with MSU Health 4U and Fitness On Demand!

Do you feel like you don’t have time to work out? Have a busy schedule during the work week? MSU Health4U and Fitness On Demand offers a wide range of tips and videos about getting fit. If you feel like you may not have time during the week, try to fit in workouts at your desk and between breaks and lunch. If you are unsure on where to start, look to MSU Health4 U and Fitness On Demand for videos and guidance.

Movement Methods is designed to assist you on your journey to wellness. Movement Methods is a physical activity guide that is geared to help you get to where you need to be. No matter your age or fitness level, this program offers exercises for warming up, cardio fitness, running and walking techniques and more. This program is available to faculty, staff, graduate student employees, retirees and their spouses. You can learn more about this guide or request additional information at MSU Health4U website or contact MSU Moves Consultant TJ Hall at 517-884-3656 or email

Are you looking for ways to squeeze in exercises in the office? Movement Break are videos geared to help you get you up and active during your break or lunch hour. They also offer stretches you can do at your desk, yoga techniques, desk exercises and more. Movement Break shares videos from five to 30 minutes. Find a video that fits your schedule at the Movement Break website.

The following video gives an example of a short desk exercise:

Try something new with Fitness on Demand (FOD)! FOD is a new virtual workout system that is located at IM East here on campus. FOD offers a wide range of videos from recognized fitness leaders around the world. How does it work? You can workout with a real live class any time IM East is open; the programs offer exercises from indoor cycling, yoga, dance aerobics, core strength and more! FOD offers workout times that are convenient for you. Visit their online schedule to check out what classes are available and how you can get involved at the Fitness On Demand website.

So, if you looking to squeeze in time to workout at work or looking for additional support, MSU Health4U and Fitness On Demand offers a wide variety of ways you can get fit and make sure it fits into your schedule. Visit MSU Health4 U Movement Methods, MSU Health 4 U Coaching and Fitness On Demand website for updates on their schedule and how to sign up for programs.

Take a pledge and Go Green this Earth Day!

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with recycling, clean commuting options and more! Take the first step to help your Spartan community go green. Are you looking for ways to go green? Start small like walking to get your lunch instead of driving, carpooling with coworkers to work or recycling materials from home. Whether you’re at home or in the office you can recycle materials you aren’t using like plastics, paper, cardboard and glass.

MSU Recycling Center is taking the lead for reusable materials here on campus. The center is open 7 days a week for dropping off recycling materials. They have labeled containers for collecting books, boxboards, cardboard, glass and more! You can find out what material is accepted and how to drop it off at the MSU Recycle Center website.

If you are looking for clean commuting options on campus, try biking, CATA or Zipcar. MSU Bikes is one commuter option that you can use by finding 1-on-1 bike commuter assistance that can help you find the safest, lowest – stress route from campus to your home. Campus also offers secure covered bike parking with DIY repair and an air station for your convenience.

Zipcar is here to help you get to your on-campus destination or your weekend adventure. You can find local Zipcars in the area by visiting the Zipcar website or downloading the app. Zipcar offers a variety of cars, vans and SUVs for wherever you’re going. You also have the option to rent for a day, hour or weekend. Zipcar is offering commuter options for MSU staff and faculty, just locate the car you want, drive and return it back to its parking space. Find more information on Zipcar and where you can sign up at the Zipcar website.

CATA clean commute options are here for free ride matching services for bus routes, carpools, vanpools and bike buddies. You can find travel modes that best fit your needs for getting around campus. Clean commute options are guided to help you save money and have a no stress commute. CATA also offers a commute cost calculator by examining how much money you spend driving alone and how much you can save by carpooling. Visit the CATA website to get involved for a clean commute for your morning.

This Earth Day make a pledge to go green! Try one of these options, whether it’s recycling with the family or carpooling with coworkers in the morning. Putting in the effort this Earth Day will make for a better tomorrow.

Job of the week – Office Coordinator II

This week’s job of the week is an Office Coordinator II (#571137) for the College of Education. This position is seeking an individual to provide support to the chairperson in the Department of Teacher Education with administrative and operational responsibilities.

The responsibilities for this role include course scheduling, analyzing information and assisting with departmental reports like enrollment and faculty assignments. Other responsibilities for this role include acting as a resource for faculty and staff, maintaining graduate applications and developing departmental databases.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge acquired in the first two or three years in college, technical school or a related field; one to three years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in a professional office setting, performing secretarial and administrative tasks, including experience with scheduling meetings, data entry and payroll processing; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Start a healthy lifestyle with MSU Student Organic Farm!

Are you looking for healthy food options that are organic and help support the local community? The MSU Student Organic Farm stand is run by MSU students who have an interest in farming and sustainable food resources.

The MSU Student Organic Farm is a 15-acre, certified organic farm that started in 1999. The goal of the farm is to provide a place where students can volunteer, work, visit and share their interest in the development of the land and farm. The farm has flourished over the years, becoming a place where people can engage with farming and creating learning opportunities through farming.

The Student Organic Farm Stand opened the first week of April and will run through the end of October; it is available every Thursday from 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at Farm Lane and Auditorium Road next to the Rock, under the big white tent. All the food they have available is USDA Certified Organic and locally grown by students and the farm crew. Note: Due to inclement weather, the farm stand will not be open on Thursday, April 18.

Image of Farm Production Manager, Sarah G. picking vegetables in a greenhouse.
Sarah G. Production Manager

Here are some of the items they offer throughout the season:

  • Spring: eggs, asparagus, spinach, lettuce, brassica salad mix, chard, kale, radishes, turnips, peas, and strawberries.
  • Summer:  tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumber, summer squash, sweet corn, green beans, some cut flowers, raspberries, and other small fruit.
  • Fall: eggs, pumpkins, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, raspberries, strawberries, pears, Asian pears, grapes, hazelnuts, and dried flowers.

The MSU Student Organic Farm offers many healthy food opportunities for staff and faculty with their Community Support Agriculture (CSA) and Market Share Program. The CSA program is designed to give you access to a diverse set of organic fruits and vegetables. You can expect 8-12 items each week ready for pick up at their farm and if you are looking for getting your hands dirty they also offer a U-Pick option. The Market Share program allows you to preload a card before you stop by the farm stand. If you purchase a minimum of a $100 share, you can receive 5-10% additional credit on your card. With the Market Share program, you can purchase fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers.

The Student Organic Farm is about connecting with the community and learning about farming and a healthy lifestyle. You can learn more about the CSA program at MSU Student Organic Farm and their Market Share program at their website. For information about upcoming events, join the MSU Student Organic Farm Stand Newsletter here. For general information about the MSU Student Organic Farm, visit their website.

Options for Using Your Educational Assistance Benefit

Are you an MSU support staff employee looking for professional development opportunities? There are a variety of ways for you to learn and grow in your career at MSU. If you find a course or learning opportunity you’re interested in, don’t forget you have access to Educational Assistance! This benefit offers financial assistance towards your professional development after you’ve worked at MSU for an equivalent of 12 full-time service months. If you work less than full-time, the benefit is prorated based on your employment percentage.

You may receive financial assistance for a variety of learning opportunities. For non-credit learning opportunities, you may have up to $800 per year to use towards registration fees. It must be considered job-related and from an approved institution/program to receive assistance. Some examples of learning opportunities you can use this benefit for include:

For credit courses, you can receive up to 14 credits per academic year. Your financial assistance level is determined by your union group, the type of course you’re taking (graduate or undergraduate), and where you’re taking the course (MSU or another university). The course must be considered job-related, degree-related, or career/professional development-related.

Find detailed information about Educational Assistance – including how to apply – on the HR website. Questions? We’re happy to help! Contact the HR Solutions Center at or 517-353-4434.

Please note: Academic Specialists have a program similar to Educational Assistance, please see the HR website for details.

Job of the Week – Engineering/Physicist Accelerator I

This week’s job of the week is an Engineering/Physicist Accelerator I (#569539) for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. This position is seeking an individual to provide engineering designs and analyze particle accelerator applications.

The responsibilities for this role include providing engineering support for mechanical design, transforming technical requirements into design solutions and assembling and commissioning of technical equipment. Other responsibilities for this role include maintaining building information models and providing support for fabrication.

The ideal candidate would possess a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or related +1 year in experience; in any related engineering occupation. Must have experience in mechanical systems design using Solid works and AutoCAD.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Enjoy the fresh air this allergy season with Teladoc!

As warmer weather approaches so do those seasonal allergies and other illnesses. Have you dealt with constant sneezing, congestion, runny nose and itchy eyes? They could be a sign of seasonal allergies, which come around when the weather becomes warmer and flowers begin to blossom. We know going outside can get difficult with pollen in the air, you’re not always able to enjoy those outdoor activities. Try to get ahead of it this season with Teladoc, you can get advice for allergies and other illnesses.

Allergies aren’t the only thing that can affect you during the spring time – different illnesses like asthma, Lyme’s Disease and respiratory viruses are all common illnesses during the warmer months.

Here are some tips to help you combat seasonal illnesses (Teladoc, 2016):

  • On dry windy days, stay inside as much as possible.
  • Hire someone to mow the lawn and other outside chores.
  • Keep doors and windows closed at night (that’s when pollen counts are high).
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep indoor air dry.
  • After spending time outside, remove and wash your clothes immediately.
  • Don’t hang laundry outside to dry.
  • Wear a pollen mask if doing outside chores and activities.

We know that life can happen, and you may not always be able to see your physician. That’s when Teladoc comes in! Teladoc gives you 24/7 access to speak with a licensed health care professional by web, phone, or mobile app. Teladoc can send prescriptions to a nearby pharmacy when medically necessary. To speak with a licensed health care professional through Teladoc, you need to:

  1. Request: Ask to talk to a health care professional 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by web, phone or mobile app.
  2. Visit: Speak with a health care professional; take as much time as you need to explain your medical concern.
  3. Resolve: If medically necessary, a prescription will be sent to the pharmacy of your choice.

To find more information on this benefit you can visit the HR website. To sign up, visit and click on “Member Login” to set up your Teladoc account. Then request a consult with an available medical professional. If you have any questions you can contact Teladoc directly at 1-800-Teladoc or visit the Teladoc website.

Teladoc. (2016, May 03). Seasonal Allergy Tips. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from

Job of the week – Human Resources Professional

This week’s job of the week is a Human Resources Professional (#568434) for MSU Human Resources. This position is seeking an individual to support the university for pre and post hiring for units, employees and applicants.

The responsibilities for this role include reviewing and approving position request forms, approving hiring recommendations and assisting with onboarding questions. Other responsibilities for this role include hiring and applicant tracking, navigating questions and analyzing hiring and layoff reports.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in human resources or a related field; six months to one year of related and progressively more responsible and expansive work experience in recruitment and hiring, and/or human resources administration; customer service experience and data analysis experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.