Program Highlights Managers Leading Engaged Teams

By Yavonda Chase

“Right now, UAMS is really focusing on increasing employee engagement, which can sometimes be difficult for managers to really understand and implement,” said Shelby Fray, senior OD consultant. “The idea behind this interview series is to listen to managers who are already engaging their employees and find out how they’re doing it.”

Fray interviewed five leaders at UAMS – Katie Broadus, Tony Boaz, Heather Alverson, Wade Anderson and John Jefferson, Ph.D. All five of the videos are available to watch in MyCompass under “Employee Engagement Spot Light.”

The five were selected from alumni of OD’s Leadership Institute or Leading with Purpose programs. All led highly engaged teams based on their scores in the 2018 and 2020 surveys, Fray said.

“I learned a lot from these leaders,” she said. “I hope that Team UAMS finds these discussions as enlightening as I did.”

Broadus is a clinical services manager in nursing care management, a position she has held for three years. She recommends managers take time to get to know their employees on a personal level. It is also important to “celebrate and recognize success” when it happens on your team, she said.

“Communication and encouragement are pillars to engagement,” she said. “Openly discuss the challenges the team is facing and then encourage them to find a solution.”

Boaz is the director of STRIVE and program manager for AR-Connect. He urges managers to “give people the opportunity to talk and give their input, especially when it comes to ideas they have for solutions.”

“Additionally, your team should be able to rely on each other for help finding solutions as well as creating an environment where we support each other when we need help,” he said.

Don’t be afraid to show your team that you have a personality, he said.

Communication is key, Boaz said. “When you ask for feedback as a leader, make sure you are willing to listen and actually do something with the feedback you receive.”

Alverson is a clinical services manager for oncology. She has worked at UAMS for 17 years – 13 of them in a leadership role.

She believes it is important to build strong relationships with your team, encourage a fun atmosphere and lead through optimism.

“I continually remind my employees that they are an expert team – even if they don’t always feel that way.”

Finally, she tries to empower her employees to “create a sense of purpose and passion through contribution.”

Anderson is the associate dean of administration in the College of Health Professions, a position he has held for three years. He recommends that managers admit their faults.

“As leaders, we are not “all knowing,” we are humans, and we make mistakes. When you make a mistake, own up to it with your team and take responsibility for it. You will be surprised how it shifts the situation from having a negative viewpoint to a proactive one.”

He also urges supervisors to listen to their employees’ ideas, suggestions and concerns – and then follow up. “The last thing you want is your employees coming to you and in return, there is no action on your part — they won’t come to you a second time.”

Jefferson is the chair and program director of the Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Health Professions, a position he has held for six years. He urges leaders to “create a mutual purpose for their teams.”

“Often times when there are barriers and obstacles in our way, we lose sight of why we are here, and it can dampen motivation and inspiration on your team. When this happens, remind the team why they are here and how we are impacting the state of Arkansas!”

Jefferson also recommends leaders share their vision with their team and be fully transparent with their teams.

“It is important for your team to know why and how decisions are made. This open communication fosters trust within your team,” he said. “Even when there are times when you can’t share all the details — say just that! Then when you can share, take the time to bring the team back together and give them all the details.”