leadership instructor Cathy Hoyle

Instructor Spotlight: Cathy Hoyle

Cathy Hoyle believes that understanding how our brain functions can help us better understand our triggers, reactions and behaviors. And she should know. Hoyle has led learning and organizational development programs at Adventist Health, Blue Shield of California and Intel for nearly 30 years and has more than 20 years of experience teaching management and leadership development in the corporate setting. She is currently an instructor for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Leadership programs.

How did you become interested in leadership development?

I have always been intrigued by human behavior and group dynamics, which are core components of leadership development. I have a passion for identifying strengths in others and coaching them to achieve their fullest potential. As a continuous learner, I get to expand my knowledge every time I develop and facilitate a class.

Why do you teach?

I love sharing the things I am passionate about with others. I find that leadership concepts not only help participants make an impact in the work environment, but also in their personal relationships. I also love connecting with and learning from my students.

How would a student describe your teaching style?

My teaching is collaborative, interactive and thought-provoking. I lean heavily on peer learning by providing the opportunity for students to connect and learn from the vast experience and perspectives they each bring.

What do you want students to take away from your courses?

Ultimately, it’s increased self-awareness and expanded perspectives. Learning these skills will help students develop and maintain positive and productive relationships both professionally and personally. In every class, my goal is to provide “ah-ha” moments that make students challenge their preconceived thought patterns and assumptions.

What does effective leadership look like?

Understanding your employee’s uniqueness in terms of strengths, development, communications style, etc., then authentically adapting your style to meet them where they are. Self-awareness, authenticity and learning agility are the top skills in a good leader.

What is the most impactful lesson you’ve learned about leading people?

Challenging employees to recognize and embrace their unique strengths has a greater impact than belaboring their weaknesses.

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Any recommendations for those looking to further their skill set?

Some of my favorite books include anything by Brene Brown. I love her focus on vulnerability. Daniel Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence and Marcus Buckingham’s books and videos on strengths are excellent. I’m also somewhat of a self-assessment junkie. I would recommend any assessments that fosters self-awareness, such as DiSC, Myers Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Emotional Intelligence and Languages of Appreciation.

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