Managers' Essentials

Managers' Essentials is a professional development program for managers who are new to managing at the FAS or have new management responsibilities.  Through this program, managers develop the skills and capabilities needed to be effective in their leadership roles. The program focuses on building collaborative relationships, developing effective communication skills, enhancing the skills and abilities of direct reports, motivating and engaging staff members, and problem solving.  This program also shares HR managing best practices and enables participants to expand their networks across the FAS.


Competencies Addressed and Topics Covered in FAS Managers’ Essentials


FAS Managers’ Essentials addresses the following essential competencies:

  • Accountability. Take responsibility for actions, decisions and deliverables; establish a culture of accountability among direct reports and across the organization.
  • Adaptability. Implement and adjust appropriately to change; seek out and anticipate opportunities where change will improve operational and management effectiveness.
  • Teamwork and collaboration. Create and leverage networks and relationships within departments and across the FAS and University; seek to understand various perspectives and build broad consensus.
  • Embracing change. Identify problems and opportunities for change and implement solutions where appropriate; maintain effectiveness when experiencing major changes; adjust effectively to work with new structures, processes, requirements or cultures.
  • Communication. Clearly and constructively convey information in a manner that engages individuals and groups and helps them understand and retain the message; engage in difficult conversations in a constructive way.
  • Developing individuals and teams. Build and support the development of individuals’ and teams’ skills and abilities, in order to meet current and near-future department needs effectively.
  • Motivating and engaging. Clearly communicate the direction of the organization and seek and recognize positive performance and results.
  • Organizational awareness. Gain knowledge of FAS environment, systems, and practices; understand the perspectives of others; recognize and balance the interests of one’s department with those of other departments and across the FAS.
  • Problem solving.  Develop practical solutions based on facts, observations, and reasoning that reflect consideration for resources, constraints, organizational values and goals; recognize patterns, connections, and issues, and connect the dots accordingly.

Approach to Learning and Skill Development

FAS Managers’ Essentials is designed to maximize participants’ ability to use newly-gained knowledge and skills in their management role.

  • Interactive, hands-on learning. Learning occurs best in an active, engaging context. Each session is highly interactive, with lively discussion and plentiful opportunities to practice newly-learned skills through role-playing and other actions. Learning activities are completed by individuals, in pairs, groups, and as teams.
  • Opportunity to hear from other managers. Participants will learn directly from peers and more experienced managers through open and informal dialogues and invited guest speakers.
  • Assignments. Take home work will include readings about upcoming topics and prompts to guide participants in processing the program’s lessons.
  • Introduction to HR colleagues. Participants have the opportunity to build relationships with HR consultants who co-facilitate and participate in modules. On completing the program, past participants viewed these staff as resources they felt comfortable contacting in the future. Each session will take advantage of the facilitators’ areas of expertise and presentation styles.
  • Practical application within personal situations. Rather than being expected to absorb information “in a vacuum,” participants are encouraged to discuss their own workplace challenges and view them through the lens of each presented topic.
  • Creation of networks within FAS, for ongoing mutual support. Through their regular interactions and joint learning, participants naturally find among themselves a genuine cohort community from which they can draw support for future management challenges.
For more information about this program, please contact Jennifer Callahan, HR Program Manager, at jcallahan@fas.harvard.edu or 617-495-4496.