Within every human being lies a well of untapped capabilities, waiting for the right circumstances to bring them to the fore.
This theory has long inspired Dr. Pam Mayer, an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston, who from her earliest academic pursuits, sought to guide individuals in realizing their full potential. A psychologist by training, Dr. Mayer focused her career primarily on leadership development, helping executives to increase their overall effectiveness, and devising curricula and instruments for industry-wide use.
It was the work of the Center for Creative Leadership, a globally recognized organization in the field of leadership training and research, that initially sparked Dr. Mayer’s interest in the leadership field. Upon completion of her graduate studies – a Master’s degree in Counseling, and a Ph.D in Education – Dr. Mayer joined the CCL as a senior trainer and management coach, eventually being appointed Vice-President of the organization. Dr. Mayer found that her prior research in the creativity field and knowledge of gifted education translated very well to the business world. “Corporations are just like the gifted classes – just older and taller,” she laughs.
Dr. Mayer has since established a private consulting practice, working primarily with Fortune 500 ranked executives. Even the most seasoned leaders can become stagnant, particularly as they become burdened with increasing responsibility, Mayer explains, “Most of the people I work with are very senior, and have been proven to be effective leaders, (but) in order to advance, they need to be more strategic – need to have larger capability.”
To help clients in overcoming these hurdles, Dr. Mayer – aided by a series of feedback tools – counsels them toward increased self-awareness. Through this process, clients are able to see how they impact and influence others, and can subsequently better themselves and properly motivate their respective teams. “You might say that I’m a maximizer,” Dr. Mayer muses, “I help people see where can they grow next…not only to be innovative, but to be effective.
One of the tools Dr. Mayer employs in her consulting practice is the Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile (EMP); a self-reporting measure of entrepreneurial thinking. Recently accepted by the Consulting Psychology Journal, the EMP differs significantly from other industry tools – which rely on team feedback – and was developed by Dr. Mayer and her colleagues at Eckerd College, as a means for enhancing innovation within corporations.
This Fall, Mayer will be among the instructors contributing to Next Level Leadership, a 6-session program offered through the Center for Professional Education at the CofC North Charleston campus. Mayer will be leading two sessions: Supporting Innovation, on November 18th, and Leveraging a Management Innovation Plan, on December 2nd. In these classes, Mayer will focus on how – through fostering corporate entrepreneurship – organizations can become more dynamic and innovative entities. Participants will utilize the Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile to access their current attitude toward innovation, while engaging in skill-building exercises while will help in supporting transformations within their respective organizations. With a blend of activities, instruction, and feedback, participants will also have the opportunity to develop a personalized “Management Innovation Plan.”
Contemplating the benefits of programs such as Next Level Leadership, Dr. Mayer offers, “Self awareness is the key to the kingdom… [Participants are given] a structured way to see what’s working, what they could do to get better, and how to be a better leader.” An entrepreneurial mindset, and its associated competencies, should also help emerging leaders to be perceived as dynamic forces within the workplace, and may provide them with an edge over the competition.
In reviewing all of her current and past leadership development endeavors, Dr. Pam Mayer demonstrates outward enthusiasm for her field, showing that she still finds inspiration in maximizing human potential. As she continues to provide classroom instruction across a wide learning spectrum – from freshman psychology students to high-level executives – she is afforded a varied perspective of leadership development, taking enjoyment from every individual she helps along the way.
Next Level Leadership will be held on Fridays at the College of Charleston North Campus beginning on September 23, 2016. Participants may register for the entire 6-part series, as well as for individual sessions.