Building Better

Having a leadership or management position at your District can often feel like a lonely and challenging role, but you're not alone! The Center for Technical Development, Washington State Conservation Commission, Washington Association of District Employees, and Washington Association of Conservation District have come together to bring you the Building Better: Leadership and Management Learning Community. This monthly series introduces leadership related topics and provides information, insight, strategies and discussion amongst peers.

Together we can build a better community of District leaders now and into the future!

Join your District management and leadership peers the second Wednesday of every other month from 1:00-2:30 for the series

Series Agenda

Tuesday, June 14 & Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Look for two encore Building Better presentations at WADE in the Admin/Finance Track!

Save the Date! Session Information Coming Soon...

After a summer break, Building Better will return in September for sessions every other month.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 @ 1:00-2:30pm

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 @ 1:00-2:30pm

Suggested Learning Resources

One of the key attributes to great leaders and managers is their habit of on-going and veracious learning. Take the time to learn, get inspired, and generate new ideas daily.

Here are some suggested resources to move you forward:


(Curated by both your Building Better team and your fellow Distract leader colleagues)

  • Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager’s Guide to Getting Results, Allison Green and Jerry Hauser

  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen

  • Start With Why, Simon Sinek

  • Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek

  • Quite: The Power of Introverts, Susan Cain

  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

  • Dare to Lead, Brene Brown

  • Good to Great, Jim Collins

  • The 7 Habits of highly Effective People, Stephen Covey

  • Atomic Habits, James Clear

  • Drive, Daniel Pink

  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni

  • How to Be a Positive Leader, Jane Dutton and Gretchen Spreitzer

  • The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker

  • On Becoming a Leader, Warren Bennis

  • The One Minute Manager, Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

  • First, Break All the Rules, Don Clifton

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

  • Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

  • Principle-Centered Leadership, Stephen Covey

  • It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff


  • A Bit of Optimism (Simon Sinek) - Join Simon every week as he talks with people that inspire him, about love, life, leadership, and silver linings. The hope is that we all leave with something we need these days… A Bit of Optimism.

  • Dare To Lead (Brene Brown) - Inviting some of the biggest changemakers – from presidents to doctors – Brené stays true to her goal of creating a playbook for leaders of all levels. The quality of conversations she platforms on her show makes Dare to Lead one of the best leadership podcasts out there.

  • How I Built This (Guy Raz, NPR) - Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.

  • TED Leadership - Hosted by Modupe Akinola of Columbia Business School, TED Business is one of the best leadership podcasts for anyone striving to overcome challenges in their position. The first half of each show includes a quick TED talk from some of the most influential leadership experts. In the second part, Modupe teaches you how to apply those lessons in your daily work.

  • As Told By Nomads (Tayo Rockson) - Tayo Rockson interviews global nomads, and entrepreneurs to discuss cultural complexities in business and communication. Tayo hosts one of the best leadership podcasts that recognizes the importance of interconnectivity.


  • 16 Personalities - Knowing more about your personality, and your teams, helps to work more effectively and better understand each other. Use this tool for personal evaluation and consider integrating into performance reviews to better function with staff and teams.

  • The Management Center -


  • Most Leaders Don't Even Know the Game They're In - Simon Sinek (35:08 min) - What is the difference between a leader and a manager? How to you increase employee happiness with simple changes in your own behavior? How do trust and cooperation change your organization from okay to great? Find out in this engaging presentation by Simon Sinek.

Materials and Ideas from Sessions

  • Decisions - Steps of the Decision Making Process and Scenarios (presented at Nov 2021 session)

  • Flow chart of District staff and program oversight (presented at Sept 2021 session)

  • Way to express staff appreciation to staff (covered at Sept 2021 event)

    • Hand-written thank you cards

    • Buy them a cup of coffee / take them out for coffee

    • Verbalizing appreciation at a board meeting and/or staff meeting

    • Printing out certificates of appreciation

    • Once a month, pick a name out of the hat and all staff except that person are asked to write something nice/supportive of that one person on a nice certificate or word cloud. At the end of the month, present the certificate to the receiving employee with applause from all. Next month, rinse, repeat with a different person.

    • Each month, grant a Friday off to a different staff member with an accomplishment that earned it for them.

  • Delegation of Authority (October 2021 event)

Have a topic idea or feedback on this series? Please let us know:

Brought to you in partnership by Center for Technical Development (CTD), Washington State Conservation Commission (WSCC), Washington Association of District Employees (WADE), and Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD).