Posts Tagged empowerment
Who do you admire? Perhaps you know someone who has overcome some extreme personal challenges or has shown himself to be particularly true to his morals and an example to others. Take a moment and think of at least one person who has impressed you with their actions or kindness. Have you ever told that person you admire them? If you haven’t, you should.
There are many people I admire. One in particular is a very close friend of my family who has filled a role similar to an aunt to me since I was about ten-years-old. She and her husband lived an amazing balance of just enough planning for the future and living in the present. Their story is one marked by his chronic illness and struggle for health. We lost him suddenly late last year just before his 60th birthday, and it rocked our community.
Last year on Christmas I stuck a note into my friend’s purse while we were celebrating. She found it the next day and loved it so much she showed it to my mom, who was a little choked up when she told me. It was simple but important because I had never told her just what her example means to me.
In the note I told her that I aspire to be more like her in that she doesn’t make a big fuss over day-to-day life. When we were kids, she was the mom who said, “Whoever wants to go to the beach, put on your suit and grab a towel; we’re leaving in ten minutes”. She always kept things simple. I love that she can embrace whatever is good right now, even when she is dealing with some pretty terrible things that she cannot control. And she always finds a way to give of herself and make the people in her life feel valued.
Part of what makes my friend’s example so meaningful to me is that I struggle with some similar challenges. It doesn’t always look easy but I can see she is trying and making the best of what she has. I have struggled with my own husband’s injury, the limitations it has created, and the difference in both of us since it occurred. I have often thought I am no match for this task.
Leadership is about being an example in the way you live. It is about living in a way that makes you happy and proud. And it is about learning from challenges and mistakes. Leadership means showing those around you who you want to be in the hope that they may be inspired to live up to their own potential. My friend is a great example to her community, her daughters, and those of us who have grown up around her family. She is no doubt, an inspiration to those she works with and the people she serves in her role at work. She has the ability to effortlessly show care for those around her.
When working for the government, the opportunities to reward employees financially are limited. Telling someone you admire or are inspired by them might be even more meaningful than a financial reward. We all have our own stories that include personal struggle. It is important to be tuned into what those around us face because it helps to build understanding. The very best leaders take time to get to know what is important to their people.
Who inspires you and when was the last time you told them why?
There are few jobs today that allow a person to work autonomously. Certainly in government there are many examples of jobs that are interdependent. Even at its most basic level, the branches of government must work together to pass a bill into law. Teams are important. As important as teamwork is in government and business today, working on a team is not always easy, and leading a team successfully can be downright difficult. When it does work, a successful team can feel like magic and every task is easier to complete.
The important thing about successful teams is that they bring together the strengths of a group to work toward a common goal or purpose. Successful teams often view members as equal and have a leader who is just as comfortable taking the lead as he is to step back and let an expert take the reins at the right time.
No one person is as strong or smart as a team but sometimes things or people get in the way. While the leader is not the most important part of a team, he can make or break that team. The best team I have been a part of had a leader who openly admitted he did not know the best way to meet our shared goal. He was often heard letting anyone who would listen know his team was a group of experts who could handle any job they took on. His humility combined with the steadfast belief in his team mates made him a great colleague. His ability to set reasonable goals, communicate effectively, and keep the team on task made him one of the best leaders I’ve met. He wasn’t the magic that made that particular team work but he flamed the fire and built up every team member so they were free to excel.
Being a great team leader is not about being the best in your field, it is about setting up the team for success. The Ken Blanchard Companies promotes the Perform Model as a way to highlight the important aspects of a high performing team:
Purpose & Values
Relationships & Communication
Recognition & Appreciation
With a skilled and knowledgeable team, the leader must only bring them together and help them to move in the right direction. The best question a leader of mine ever asked me is “How can I help you reach your goal?” Team leaders of highly skilled teams are not the stars of the show but facilitators, who get the team in place and cheer the team on throughout the race.
Have you worked on or do you lead a high functioning team? What worked best for you?
Posted by Kristina Marzullo in Attitude, Change, Coaching, Communication, Employee Engagement, Feedback, Goals, Government, Ken Blanchard, Leadership, Leadership Development, Management, Morale, Motivation, Performance, Productivity, Roles, Supervisor, The Ken Blanchard Companies, Training, Trust on September 25, 2013
Today’s post was written by How Gov Lead’s new contributing author, Amber Hansen. Amber has worked in Government contracting for over nine years. She is currently a Project Manager working with Federal Government clients at The Ken Blanchard Companies. Watch this blog for more thought leadership from Amber.
Have you ever met someone who is really great at one part of their job and terrible at another? I happen to be married to a man who for many years was a Navy Corpsman who loved his job but struggled with some of what comes with being in the military. I once heard a leader of his say he was “an amazing Corpsman and a terrible sailor.” To put it in very simple terms, that means he was really good at caring for his patients and training junior members of his team and not so great at keeping his uniform in order and being on time. This leader understood clearly that my husband had significant strengths but like all of us, he had weaknesses, too.
What happens when forgetting to bring the right kind of socks for a uniform becomes a reason to be reprimanded at work? That may depend on one’s leader. Some of us are truly adept at handling the details of life; we might keep backup socks in the car just in case. Others just do not think this way. My husband is very bright, he learns things quickly, takes what he believes is useful and leaves behind what he sees as a bit of a waste of his time. I suspect the things that may have made him a good sailor, like bringing the right pair of socks, were the same things that appeared to him to be a waste of time. In my husband’s world, ensuring he had the right medical supplies packed for a mission ranked just a little higher than the socks. If my life depended on him and I had to choose between socks and medical supplies I would be glad to have left the socks behind.
Some of the military leaders I have met would focus on those missing socks because they see that as the foundation to doing the rest of any job well. They could not see past the socks to find a truly valuable and talented team member. They allowed the socks to become the focus of their interaction with a Corpsman who by the end of his career was influencing the careers of junior Corpsman, helping them build their skills, improve their productivity, and learn to teach others.
Our military is dealing with stressors many civilians cannot fully comprehend. From multiple deployments and Post Traumatic Stress to shrinking budgets and less time and resources to train; our military members work hard and they deserve leaders who are prepared to support and serve them. Our military and government leaders need to be innovative in this new world of looming sequester budgets and ongoing wars. And they must ensure their teams are able to fully realize their potential in order to bring the most value to the organization and to themselves. Empowerment is key!
When a team member can’t seem to remember to bring the right socks the leader must set him up to succeed anyway. Helping that direct report remember to “bring the appropriate socks” may seem like a waste of time, but if it is a waste of time for the leader, perhaps that is the heart of the reason it’s a waste of time for the individual. If a leader can show that helping that sailor succeed with his socks, the payoff is that the sailor will trust the leader to help him succeed in much more significant ways.
I work for a leadership and training development company. I am constantly surrounded by best practices on leading a team, leading in a situation, and even leading myself. I am continuously exposed to the skills required to develop an individual into a great leader, motivate a team member, and generate empowerment in a direct report. So when I read reports like The Federal Leadership Challenge from the Partnership for Public Service (PPS), I have to remember that not everyone has the same daily experience that I have. PPS conducted an analysis using the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and uncovered that leadership is the lowest ranking category in the Federal Government. The report states that out of 10 workplace categories, leadership has the lowest ranking, scoring only 54.9 out of 100. Read the rest of this entry »
The work environment that most Americans are familiar with is one that requires them to be at the office for a set amount of time each day, regardless of whether they get their work done or not. Sure, some of us have a well defined flex schedule and can work from home if necessary but how would you like to work on your terms? How would your life change if you had the opportunity to work when you want, how you want, and where you want? That is exactly the type of work environment that Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson are piloting with the Office of Personnel Management.
Ressler and Thompson created a work environment called Results-Only work Environment (ROWE). ROWE is a management strategy that focuses strictly on the results that employees produce, not the presence they have at the office. This allows employees to create a sought after work/life balance.
A results-only work environment promises the following benefits:
- Allows you to set your own work schedule
- Puts you responsible for results
- Promotes a healthier, less stressful lifestyle
- Autonomy and accountability
- Environmentally friendly – no commuting
- Increases productivity and efficiency
- Retain and attract top talent
OPM’s John Berry was so impressed with this new workforce flexibility program that he announced that he was implementing a pilot program with 400 of the agency’s employees. If the pilot is a success, OPM will expand it within the agency and encourage other Federal agencies to execute the program government-wide. The program’s intent is to increase employee performance and morale and empower them to get the job done.
The Ken Blanchard Companies defines empowerment as the creation of an organizational climate that releases the knowledge, experience, and motivation that reside in people. It is what leaders give to their people. Self leadership is what people do to make empowerment work. The ROWE program does just that by giving managers a new way to lead their direct reports and entrust them to take full responsibility to get their work done on their own time.
But is this new flex schedule right for everyone? The creators of ROWE have reported an average increase in productivity of 35%, and a 90% decrease in voluntary turnover rates. The pilot being tested at OPM is being evaluated by Deloitte. A full report on their findings is scheduled to be published in February 2011.
What advantages/disadvantages would you expect if your organization implemented a ROWE work environment?
You can click here to learn more about how to create a motivating and empowering workplace.