Become a better leader

Caiti Miller

Caiti Miller, Team Leader at David's Vacation Club Rentals, discusses how The Ivey Academy's Frontline Supervisor Program has given her the leadership skills needed to effectively communicate with direct reports and create an environment in which everyone thrives.

What led you to the Frontline Supervisor Program (FSP)?
I had just been promoted to a leadership position in our office. While I do have a bit of experience as a manager, my employer thought it would be beneficial to send me to this course to hone my skills and soften my approach to certain situations. The program was so impactful that my company is looking into sending all of our upper management team to the next round!

What were your impressions on the first day of the program?
On the first day of the program I was a bit unsure of what to expect. I had been given very little information from my employer about what I was getting into. When I arrived, I was a bit concerned because I am not from a “manufacturing” work environment and I wasn’t sure how much the curriculum would apply to me. But as soon as we got started, those concerns vanished. All of the topics taught in this course can be just as easily applied to an office setting as they can to the factory floor.

Which aspects of the program stand out for you?
I think one of the most beneficial parts of the program was the fact trained actors were used to complete the role play activities. Typically, when you are working on management training you are expected to complete role plays with others in the program. It doesn’t really have the desired effect. Having actors who came in and stayed in character the entire time was far more realistic than I have experienced in the past.

What were your biggest takeaways?
My biggest takeaway was a better knowledge of myself and my own leadership style. Through the various questionnaires and assessments we completed I gained a better understanding of my own reaction to situations. This has allowed me to understand how my attitude can impact those around me.

How did the program influence your thoughts on leadership?
John and Ann influenced my thoughts on leadership tremendously! Prior to this course I didn’t really think about beginning conversations with a “start with heart” mentality. My idea of leadership was more of a “do as I say” approach, which doesn’t allow for a very cohesive work environment. By creating a more casual, safe space for conversations with employees, they will be more relaxed during our conversations and more open.

What are the biggest challenges facing you/your organization, and how has the program helped you meet them?
Currently, our biggest challenge is high employee turnover. Utilizing the new leadership skills that I have learned through this program I hope to be able to create an environment in which everyone thrives and our turnover rate is reduced.

How would you describe the program’s impact?
This program has been invaluable to me. John and Ann have offered so much when it comes to knowledge and advice for how to maximize my leadership abilities through understanding my own emotions as well as the emotions of others. I have already begun implementing some of the techniques that I have learned and cannot wait to see the positive changes that take place in our office.


For more information on the Frontline Leadership Program, please download the program brochure


About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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