Student Research Feature: Ugette Vanderpost

Photo of MA Leadership student Ugette Vanderpost

The School of Leadership Studies would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Ugette Vanderpost on the completion of a Master’s Thesis titled, Developing Dynamic Feedback Mechanisms in the Work Culture of Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre. This thesis is available through RRU’s library here.

We asked Ugette a few questions about this research and this is what they said:

What are some key takeaways from your thesis that would be helpful for other leaders?

My thesis focused on the giving and receiving of feedback in a work culture. I discovered how both embedded processes for organizational learning and human behaviour are integral to the functioning of feedback mechanisms. The data that informed my recommendations reflected the importance of practising feedback conversations throughout all levels in an organization and the interconnected behaviours that influence the effective functioning of feedback mechanisms. Through the integration of the literature, the findings, and my own experience and knowledge, I learned the significance of giving and receiving feedback in the building of connection, self-awareness, and confidence.

How is the organization moving change forward based on your work?

I had the wonderful opportunity to partner with an external organization that was keen to understand how to improve collaboration, inclusivity, and learning through the ways staff give and receive feedback. The results of the research project have provided the organization with concrete tools to collectively implement change. The research process itself, allowed staff to begin making changes to their feedback behaviour and this resulted in a strong motivator to bring the change forward in a more sustainable manner!  

What surprised you about your experience of the thesis process?

That I would enjoy every element. It was hard, really hard at times, but all the elements of bringing a thesis together was a journey that I wanted to be challenging. I knew that would mean the learning would be deep. Working with the participants was a humbling and joyful experience. The rigour of the research and writing taught me how to become stronger in both those skills. My thesis supervisor—Guy Nasmyth—was truly exceptional and a real gift for my learning process.

How are you applying lessons learned from your whole MA-Leadership journey?

I have become a stronger advocate for leadership practices that model receiving feedback as often as giving it! I am even more inspired to cultivate and support work cultures that intentionally build mechanisms where learning and practising feedback (in all directions!) are nurtured. As leaders, I believe we have a responsibility to strengthen our feedback skills with humility, clarity, and above all, great listening so that we may serve others and organizations with the highest integrity.