Why We’re Hosting Arena Academy 201

April 13, 2021
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On May 7 – 9, Arena will host Arena Academy 201, a training designed for those who want to manage people and programs on campaigns. Too often, those at upper and middle management on campaigns have the fewest professional development resources. That’s why we’re creating this training and community of practice. We will train you to be a top-notch manager and give the tools to keep evolving your skills to be successful in manager roles.

Campaigns are one of the few spaces where, as a relatively junior or unseasoned staffer, you can find yourself in a management position, leading a team. Campaigns need to scale quickly. They often assume that if someone has done a particular job before, that person is qualified to manage other people in a similar role.

Yet, campaigns don’t often support those who make the leap from managed to manager. These new managers lack the tools and resources to develop into strong people managers. They aren’t given the time to fully understand what it means to lead a team. In the best of cases, these managers learn quickly on the job through trial and error. In bad cases, managers struggle personally and professionally in the role. In the worst cases, bad managers can cause staff attrition and people leaving electoral politics for good because of a bad experience.

Bad management practices often linger in campaign spaces for years.

Without a formal training system (though the Management Action Center trains hundreds of managers on campaigns each cycle), management training is on-the-job, ad hoc, and inconsistent. New managers learn from their past experiences and managers, which can perpetuate bad practices.

We know there’s a better way

With Arena Academy 201, we want to proactively create a space for managers to learn and practice the skills needed to improve campaign programs and staff experiences. 

This training is designed for those with at least one cycle (6+ months) of experience on a campaign or in electoral adjacent organizations. We’re also looking for candidates who want to stay in electoral politics and feel called to personally and systemically improve campaign management. 

So, what will you learn at Arena Academy 201?

We believe that good management begins with an understanding of self. You need to understand who you are as a leader. That means you need to reflect on your characteristics, traits, biases, and history. You also need to examine the baggage you carry with you. Many of us still carry the weight of bad managers and imposter syndrome.

Arena Academy 201 will allow future managers to examine their own management practices, beliefs, and style. We’ll cover management basics, like hiring, onboarding, feedback, difficult conversations, and culture-setting. We’ll touch on project management and then spend the final day in skills-based sessions such as VAN 201, goal setting, reports, and budgeting. You’ll be able to choose which of these skills-based sessions you want to attend.

We know aspiring and current managers have the potential to be great managers and change the way campaigns operate. All you need is the tools and frameworks to put into practice.

Ready to join us? Apply by April 18 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. https://www.arena.run/academy-apply