I literally blinked and August was over; I still can’t get over how quickly the month flew by! One of my main focuses this month was to get to know each of my RAs. I was very nervous about meeting them for a variety of reasons. I knew that sometimes inheriting a staff can be very tricky. Now, I’m definitely excited to work with such a great group. They truly are amazing student leaders and within a short amount of time we’ve all gotten really close!
Here are a few short tips for inheriting a staff:
During training or upon first meeting them, have a conversation with those returning to the position.
Out of my 14 RAs, seven of them are new and seven are returning. I talked with all of my returners to set expectations for helping the new RAs. I also spent this time listening to things that worked well within the staff and supervisory relationship.
Spend time with your staff!
That seems like such a no brainier, but I’ve intentionally worked to have lunch or dinner with my RAs once school started. Many of them come into my office and sit and talk when they are free or might stop by my apartment to say hi to my dog during their rounds. It’s awesome when it gets to a point that the staff facilitates interactions with you instead of you always reaching out! I also had my staff fill out a questionnaire which asked a variety of questions from their favorites, to why the RA job, to what they need from a supervisor, to what kind of working style they might have. This was especially helpful for me because I recognize that they all need different things from me!
Be a resource!
Again this might be self explanatory, but it’s helped when I know the answer to the questions or can point them in the right direction of where to find the answer. I know if I never knew the answers, that would negatively impact the staff’s opinion of my ability to do my job!
Towards the end of the training period or after knowing them for a week or two, discuss goals and expectations.
We created staff and building goals along with their expectations of me, my expectations of them, and their expectations of each other. It really helped doing this at the end because they weren’t afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings and felt comfortable advocating for their needs.
Don’t be afraid to ask them questions or get their opinions!
There are many times where I set the tone and make the decisions. But sometimes I might ask a returning RA for clarification on a process or what worked well in the past. I might also ask for input on how the staff thinks we should run the building community. I’ve found that they definitely respect that I value their opinion.
Each of these has helped me over the past few weeks with my staff. I hope they can give someone else experiencing a similar situation a few ideas. On another note, I’m finally a North Carolinian y’all! I also have been attempting to learn my way around Greenville and I can successfully get places without the GPS! Now to tackle finding something to do with all my free time..
This post is part of the Emerging SA Pro series following 4 awesome people: Aracelis, Emalie, Felicia, and Patrick, as they blog monthly about 1 year of their journey as either a new SA Pro or SA grad student. We are proud to help them share their stories as they break into our field.