HHS Leadership & Professional Development Workshop

By Benjamin Soong

Baby Boomers. Gen X’ers. Millennials. Centennials. Today’s workforce is experiencing itself like it never has before. Because of this diversity, these generations are learning to work together. Not every company can structure themselves like Google or Facebook. In most work places, such as government offices, a need is arising for a mutual effort to improve collaboration and communication between different people. And with that, a new type of leader will emerge.

This past Tuesday, the International Leadership Foundation had the pleasure of having Glorimar Maldonado come speak to their Fellows about the topics of “What Kind of Leader Are You?” and “Managing Up”. During her presentation, topics of emotional intelligence, leadership methods, adaptability, and relationship development complemented her own anecdotes about the workplace and finding her niche.

Currently, Ms. Maldonado is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services serving both as the Chief Recruitment Officer with the Talent Acquisition Division as well as the Interim Deputy Director of the Office of Human Resources. Before, she was working with the CDC as a Senior Advisor and with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Ms. Maldonado asks Fellows what kind of leader they are

In the first segment, Ms. Maldonado talked to the Fellows about the process of leadership development. The social perception of introversion, extroversion, and leadership have created a bias that favor extroversion over introversion. She introduced an intermediary, a bivert: an individual that can choose when and where their extroversion or introversion comes out. This ability allows for an individual to thrive in a variety of situations and allows them the opportunity to cultivate resilience and ambition. As a bivert, Ms. Maldonado can turn on her extroversion for presentations (such as this one) and then switch to introversion for effective one-on-ones with her staff.

What brings out a bivert’s potential leadership is the style in which they can lead and motivate their followers. Traditionally, leadership can be thought of as autocratic, with a clear chain of commands and hierarchy. It is structured but can create a hostile work environment if one does not follow suit. Another view is transactional leadership, where followers are motivated only by reward. This can be effective for getting work done but is damaging for innovation. More recently, transformative leadership has been at the forefront of leadership development. It is characterized by its ability to shift styles to suit the situation and its focus on motivating people. Ms. Maldonado shared that she has only had “one [boss] in 30 years” that was transformative.  As her mentor, he helped develop her into the leader she is today.

It is not a simple process to develop the self-awareness needed to be a great leader. Emotional intelligence is the perfect catalyst. It allows an individual insight into their own mannerisms and demeanor so they can first understand the steps they need to take to meet their goals, and then understand how to work with the individuals around them.

Ms. Maldonado shares from her own experience

In the second half, “Managing Up” taught the Fellows how to develop effective relationships with supervisors and senior staff to achieve positive results. Techniques to figure out the best way to communicate with senior staff were the highlight of this section. Ms. Maldonado went a step further and discussed how one should handle multiple bosses. Her advice of figuring out who is the “ultimate boss” resonated with some of the Fellows’ internship experiences. Ending this section, she stressed the importance of knowing when to leave. Good indicators are when one starts to feel physically ill, or have a damaging sense of complacency even with a positive workplace.

Ms. Maldonado’s presentation comes at a significant time for the Fellows. The workplace has never been so diverse, whether it be through the lens of age, gender, race, or culture. As most Fellows are finishing their undergraduate degrees or are looking to get a jump start on their careers, they are entering a changing environment. Learning skills to influence positive results, achieve a greater self-awareness, and communicate well with a variety of people are the defining skills that will make our Fellows stand out. We thank Ms. Glorimar Maldonado for coming out and speaking to our Fellows.