Planners’ Picks — August 1, 2023

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

CSN’s Summer of Gratitude is rolling ahead with a few more events. We’re also completing our to-do list, and working on being better presenters this week in PP.


:: Image of the Week

If speaking kindly to plants helps them grow, imagine what speaking kindly to humans can do.

For all of the garden enthusiasts in the group, you’ll surely understand this image of the week, inspired by last week’s nature walk at Allen Centennial Gardens. You get out of things what you feed them. Fill your fellow humans with kindness and you’ll see them grow and produce bountiful harvests of the same.


:: Summer of Gratitude Resources

Three Fundamentals of Leading with Kindness: Gratitude, Purpose and Open-mindedness

In our exploration on kindness, we continue to ask two basic questions: can leaders be effective and get better results by leading with kindness? What happens to both the leader AND the team when everyone practices kindness?

Kindness is defined as the act of being compassionate, considerate and caring for other people without the expectation of getting something in return for it. In the context of leadership, kindness is about using leadership talents, resources and leverage to improve other people’s lives by leading with authentic acts of love, generosity, compassion, care and, especially, service.

It is important to acknowledge that leading with kindness takes courage. In many companies across the world, there is a culture of leadership that trains people from their earliest professional experiences what a leader is “supposed” to look and act like. Many people grew up to be this version of a leader that was modeled for them. But they often find leadership to be unrewarding, and they read book after book trying to figure out how to be a better leader. At the end of the day, it’s easiest to choose kindness. It may make you look like a non-traditional leader and people may question your approach. But leading with kindness does result in better outcomes.

We broke down the idea of “leading with kindness” in nine actions that leaders can take to lay a foundation of kindness with their teams. Now we want to dig deeper into the nine actions to lead with kindness by exploring another set of actions that leaders can take to truly lead with kindness.

“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” ― Brené Brown

Watch the film Gratitude Revealed

“All of the great things in life were when I was reaching out.” A blind mountain climber in the film Gratitude Revealed

CSN recently held a screening of this film on campus to kick off our Summer of Gratitude initiative. The producers of Gratitude Revealed have added it to their library on Louie Channel TV. You can now watch this amazing film with family, friends, or workmates. If you were at our screening on May 24, you can enjoy it again (You’ll need to supply the popcorn this time!)


Go to (You will need to register to be a user)

Scroll down to the Gratitude Section and select Gratitude Revealed – Watch Party

Or, search for LouieChannelTV on your streaming device like Roku and

Let us know what you think of this epic production!


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

Make Your Phone Less Appealing and Addicting with Grayscale Mode

This 30-second iPhone hack might be a life-changer for you regarding the distractions of apps and their notifications. Grayscale Mode removes the colors to make your phone immediately less appealing and addicting. You can set it up so you can toggle between color and grayscale, in case you need color for a while.

To turn it on, follow the steps in Sahil Bloom’s Linkedin post:

Stop Trying To Feel Better And Get Better At Feeling

Mental health has never been more top-of-mind than in recent years, and Emma McAdam has built an extraordinary therapeutic resource in an unlikely place: YouTube. Emma is a licensed marriage and family therapist best known for her incredibly popular “Therapy in a Nutshell” videos that demystify things like anxiety, depression, and emotional regulation.

Therapists are amazing at this, and so are coaches, but what if each of us could be a little bit better at giving the people in our orbit the space to feel?

What are the takeaways:

  1. Find people in your life to hold space. Sometimes you will need to ask for it.
  2. Recognize every story you have, someone may hold a different version. And that is ok. It doesn’t make you, or them, wrong.
  3. Be a person who holds space for others. Take the time to train yourself how to do that; it rarely comes naturally.

This candid conversation will completely change your perspective on stress, happiness, and why our brains perceive stuff like email as a constant survival threat. Emma also has very practical tips on how to form new pathways in our brains and break the “anxiety loops” that can trap us.

If we could get 5% better, even 1% better at this, what would be the positive consequences in our workplaces or our homes?

“Human beings were never designed for the poorly nourished, sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially-isolated, frenzied pace of 21st-century life.” –  Stephen Ilardi

The Greg McKeown Podcast

Learn how to take the unwanted friction in your life and turn it into what Dr. Rangan Chatterjee calls “the happiness perspective.” By the end of this episode, you are guaranteed to feel better and walk away with strategies to increase happiness in your life.

  • Learn to reframe a story and choose what Dr. Chatterjee calls “the happiness perspective” which allows you to take control of the situation.
  • Practice the 5-step process of making others the hero of the story.


:: Resources on Communication

Are You Using Clean Language Questions?

What is Clean Language? If you’re interested in understanding people, how they think, and how they change, you’ll want to know about Clean Language. It’s an impressively versatile tool, that can be used when practicing active listening with your team.

Here are six of the ways it can be used:

  1. To harvest information from another person: what they know, what they think, how they feel
  2. To explore “unknown knowns” – the deeper things that people don’t realize that they know – respectfully
  3. To shift someone’s emotional state
  4. To motivate someone to change
  5. To give and get effective, useable feedback
  6. To enhance relationships between people – even people in conflict.

But it’s not a language! It’s not even, really, about language. It’s not about speaking clearly, not using jargon, or not swearing!

Fundamentally, it’s a precision inquiry technique. It’s a set of questions and a way of asking them. The structure of the process forces you to listen to what the other person is saying and choose your next question mindfully.

Constructive vs. Unconstructive Feedback

Leadership coach Megan Robinson writes, “I have been given a lot of terrible feedback in my life. I’m sure you have too. Sometimes it was contradictory, once it was insultingly accusatory, and almost all of the feedback was unclear or confusing. How do you know if the feedback you received was subpar? If you come to the end of a feedback session and have no idea what to do next, that feedback was terrible. Unconstructive feedback gives you no path forward. You don’t know what or how to improve! On the other hand, constructive feedback has the power to inspire growth, improve performance, and strengthen relationships within your team. That’s why I’m sharing a few tips to make your feedback more constructive. And if you are receiving feedback, consider these tips on how to turn that unconstructive information into something you can use!”

Read her whole article at


:: Resources on Developing Better Habits

Continuous Improvement: How It Works and How to Master It

What is Continuous Improvement?

Let’s define continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is a dedication to making small changes and improvements every day, with the expectation that those small improvements will add up to something significant.

The typical approach to self-improvement is to set a large goal, then try to take big leaps in order to accomplish the goal in as little time as possible. While this may sound good in theory, it often ends in burnout, frustration, and failure. Instead, we should focus on continuous improvement by slowly and slightly adjusting our normal everyday habits and behaviors.

It is so easy to dismiss the value of making slightly better decisions on a daily basis. Sticking with the fundamentals is not impressive. Falling in love with boredom is not sexy. Getting one percent better isn’t going to make headlines.

There is one thing about it though: it works. Read this article from the author of Atomic Habits, James Clear, on using the 1% better tactic for continuous improvement in your work and daily life.

“As far as life philosophies go, “The right time is right now” isn’t a bad one. Most of us would benefit from a greater bias toward action.” – James Clear


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

Gen Z in the Workplace: Difficult or Different?

CSN covered the topic of Generational Differences in a session back in 2017 – as supervisors, it’s our responsibility to understand how to communicate and motivate people in all career stages and generational categories.

A recent survey reported that 3 in 4 managers find Gen Z difficult to work with. But experts say there may be plenty of blame to pass around in this generational impasse. While generational impasses are nothing new in the workplace, experts say that some unsettling new statistics may portend serious trouble. A key difference between Gen Z and other generations is their desire for personal and professional fulfillment from their companies. The article advises experienced managers to remain empathetic and reflect on their early careers, “Remember what you were like when you were 20, and what you wanted to know.”

Fostering Internal Relationships

Sometimes, when we think about fostering business relationships, we only think about our external client relationships. But what is equally as important, is the internal relationships you build with your colleagues and coworkers. LinkedIn poster Maggie Garden shares how she works through a hybrid team situation.

Smarter Than Your Boss? Here Are 4 Ways To Make It Work

Imagine you’ve been in your job for a while. You have gained crucial experience, developed meaningful relationships, and honed your skills and qualifications. One day, you find yourself with a new manager who has a lot of ideas, but significantly less experience than you. Sound familiar? On the surface, this might not sound like an ideal scenario, but having a boss with different skills and knowledge can be exciting and rewarding.

There are three reasons why, more than ever, we are likely to find ourselves working for someone with less experience. First, we are working longer, with most large firms having up to five generations working together side by side. Flexible working, greater age diversity, and shifting career goals and aspirations make it more likely that more seasoned workers are paired with less experienced managers.


:: Upcoming Events

Row of Union Chairs at the Terrace, with a CSN Summer of Gratitude logo overlayed

CSN Summer of Gratitude Gathering

Campus Supervisors Network would like you to join us for a casual gathering at the Memorial Union Terrace, where we will celebrate eight years of CSN events and wrap up the Summer of Gratitude. Join your peers to talk about our summer, how we used gratitude to improve our lives and relationships, and what we look forward to in the upcoming fall semester. Take a short break from your office environment and bring a little self-care into your week too. Let’s Grow in our Gratitude Together!

Date: Thursday, August 17
Time: 3:00 – 5:00 pm
On the Union Terrace (Look for the CSN Banner and the Group of Supervisors Having Fun)

Please RSVP here:

Free Course Helps Employees Develop Presentation Skills

The ability to engage an audience can be an important skill for leaders and others. To help UW‒Madison employees make persuasive and effective presentations, Learning and Talent Development offers a course on Presentation Skills at no cost. Each participant will give a five-minute presentation in class in an atmosphere of encouragement. The next scheduled sessions are a virtual session on August 15, 1‒4 p.m., and an in-person session on October 24, 9 a.m.‒noon, at 21 North Park Street. Advance registration is required.