25 Leadership Programs in 2013

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December 30, 2013

Well, another great year with so many skilled groups of leaders.

This year I’ve been honored to facilitate 25 leadership development programs ranging from one to five days each. We’ve explored so many topics (see my earlier posts) including diversity and inclusion, managerial courage, effective feedback, leading global teams, and leadership in not-for-profits. I think the theme this year has been “possibility.”

Quite a bit of this year has been spent with US government personnel in the VA, Department of Defense, Office of Personnel Management and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. I’ve long said it takes a special person to be a nurse, a teacher, or a social worker. It also takes a special person to be an effective leader in government service.

Having spent a number of years myself in government service, I know the challenging personnel systems that exist for leaders trying to make a difference. The single biggest challenge shared by my senior coaching clients in the government deals with the motivation and execution of work by key staff members. By key staff members I mean those who mistreat their employment dedication and misuse the system to perpetuate poor work. This year I coached six members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and the number one challenge was working with people you cannot terminate. For each of my talented coachees, their approach was very similar and I’d like to share what they’ve learned in order to thrive in the face of great challenge.

Have a clear set of personal values around leadership. Each of my SES coachees was able to stay the course in how they defined, how they led, and how they guided their staff by holding onto their commitment to ever-increasing effectiveness. When times (or people) got tough or insurmountable, they were able to keep sharing consistent messages and drive toward clarity of direction because they were clear themselves about what was important for their people.

Persevere building a team culture. Each of my coachees sponsored conversations at the team level to develop a collective understanding of what it means to be a leader on their team. Through the development of group norms and the setting of team-level expectations, the group could better evaluate its performance as a whole. The group also had metrics that they used to hold each other accountable individually, which creates an effective peer mechanism when performance is lacking.

Enlarged their brain trust. Each of my coachees had a colleague to serve as a thought partner for them to enlarge their thinking. Some were former coworkers, mentors or bosses that had been valuable reflection partners in the past. It is said that all thinking is in response to a question. When we are the only ones asking our own questions, we don’t gain the insights and perspectives that could create more effective responses or outcomes. An idea is a dangerous thing if you have only one.

Take a leaf out of their notebook. How are you leading? What are you doing to sustain your involvement and growth? How are you helping others grow?

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BE BETTER NOW – A Leadership Call to Action – Take a moment right now to put your thoughts into action

  1. What is ONE ASPECT of your professional life that might benefit from more or different attention in this subject area (enhancing the impact you make on others)?
  1. What is ONE THING you could do TODAY that would move you more deliberately in this direction? The Behavior or action I could take (verb); I will…
  1. HOW will you ensure you are developing – WITH WHOM can you share this goal or add to your brain trust to hold yourself accountable?
  1. MAKE a 10 minute calendar appointment right now to check in with yourself on this topic next week (better yet – for each following week). Keep it practical – write brief notes on two questions only:
  • What clear steps did I take last week for my own development?
  • What will I focus on executing next week?

Need some thought partner time? – Call/email at 336.918.8415 chris.evans@nullchristopherevans.org

Practical – Relevant – Immediately Useful