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The Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators is a non-profit organization that provides support to financial aid administrators and other agencies involved in the administration of financial aid programs in Wisconsin’s postsecondary educational institutions. 


The WASFAA Blog contains updates from the WASFAA President, highlights committee activities and member profiles, and provides articles written by members and guests.

Top 10 Tips for New Leaders – Triena Bodart

This is the fifth post in a series of tips on transitioning into management and leadership for the first time. Triena Bodart is an Assistant Director of Financial Aid at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She had so many great ideas that we have two bonus tips today for a total of 12!

Top 10 Tips for New Leaders
by Triena Bodart

1)      Know your “stuff”.

You don’t have to know every detail of every job but you do need to have a strong understanding of Financial Aid rules and regulations.

2)      Have a heart. Be gracious.

Be kind. Enough Said.

3)      Know your strengths, know yourself.

Understand your management style and values; use them to guide your actions.  Use them to develop your expectations and communicate them to your staff.

4)      Surround yourself with amazing people.

Don’t be intimidated by them or what they can teach you!

5)      Challenge your team.

Don’t settle for the daily routine; find ways to think outside the box.

6)      Don’t be afraid of the critical conversations….Have them!

Often times, people already know if they are behaving poorly; give them the opportunity to make it right, save face and improve.  If they don’t, you can continue to build on the conversation and hold them accountable.

7)      Hug, smile, dance like no one is watching.

You have to find your own song.  The thing that motivates you and keeps you inspired.

8)      Take responsibility.

The most difficult thing to do is own up to a mistake; but it is also the most respected thing to do.  Your staff will follow suit.

9)      Bring others along with you as a leader.

Share what you know.  Give credit where credit is due; acknowledge the work of others. Clear the path for others.

10)   Acknowledge those who inspire you.

Share the value of what you learn from others. Everyone likes to be appreciated. “Thank You” goes a long way.

11)   Celebrate employee accomplishments.

Be sure to recognize the success of others and congratulate them publicly. It’s important to share in another’s joy.

12)   Remember… don’t always have to be the leader.

A good leader knows when the team has it under control and you can take a back seat!


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