We do not always think a team has the same values as individuals, but a team does because they have one common goal insight. Normally that common goal is the organizations mission and vision goals. It can also be working together as a collaborative team. Within my team at work, they are a collaborative team and have goals of making sure the calls are always covered. If someone goes to lunch late because their call ran over the other person will stay on the phone until they get back to take their lunch. I have team members that notice when another employee calls off that works a closing shift and they are willing to stay over so someone is not working alone and having to leave alone. My team understands and strives to meet our mission and vision of the organization. These things help me as a leader from micromanaging my staff. It helps me be able to get my work done without being on the floor with them. It helps being stress free when it comes down to if the work is going to get done or not. Overall it creates a great working environment for each of the staff members including me as their leader that I trust them, and they trust me.
There are times when a team member shares their feeling about a new service line or change in policy, their feelings can rub off on to other coworkers. When this happens, there is grumbling among the team and the attitude is I am going to do what I want to do mentality. This begins to hinder the team performance because there are followers. This causes the team to be divided and the service level is not the same as it once was. That is when the manager or leader has to intervein to ensure the entire team is following correct processes and procedures. I believe within my department there is a disconnect between the team. There are seven representatives in one office and an hour and halfway from that one is six more of my staff members. They do not feel like they get to interact with one another as well as they would if they were in the same building. I believe they would perform better if they were within the same room, because my two offices interact differently. There was one time that I had them all in one room and they worked with each other well. They just do not know how each other operates or how to interact with one another the same as they do in their own spaces.
As a leader, I am a value-based leader, especially in the type of work we do at Planned Parenthood. The mission and vision are why we are here to make sure our patients get the non-judgmental care they deserve. However, as a manager it is based on fairness, policies and procedures when it comes to employees. The value-based leader is about the work and handling patients. I lead the team to be non-judgmental and they understand we would not be here if it were not for the patients that need us. The actions and steps that would enhance the shared values of the team is by reinforcing accountability for the work we do. I handle monitoring calls coaching sessions to make sure we enhance the patient experience and keeping the team accountable for their interactions with patients. It is important for the team to see the leader lead by example with structure in place.
As a leader, I am self-aware because I am able assess my emotions and not let them take over me. There might be times that an employee approaches you with attitude or frustration and if you take that to heart then you will be stooping to their level and you cannot settle things if the two of you are upset. I always let an employee know we can work things out and I sit back and listen to them and when they are done we talk about ways we can handle things and by the time we are done the employee feels relieved and able to move forward. Now if I had not used my emotional intelligence in that scenario then the employee would have left my office feeling worse or that their manager does not care which could cause a morale issue. I try to build relationships with my staff, by collecting information they share with me about their families and pets and occasionally I will ask how they are doing. This shows my team they are valued, because they can walk away feeling like their boss really cares “she asked about my cat and he just had surgery, that was nice of her”. The competencies that I have as a leader are interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, conflict management, decision making skills, influence skills and area of expertise within our department and organization (Ph.D., 2014). My interpersonal skills that I have are making sure to be able to communicate well between my team and individual employees. Carrying soft skills are important because you want to make sure the employee is comfortable having a conversation with you and you are not negative when you make your approach or accusatory. Soft skills help with the approach and making sure the team member does not feel attacked when you are approaching something that needs to be corrected. Emotional intelligence, I touched on prior about being able to handle situations and not letting your emotions take over the job requirement. Conflict management is important for a leader to be able to handle. If you are someone that avoids conflict, then you will have more conflict than when you started by avoiding because it will never get better. I some management training a year or so ago and the person that was teaching us brought up a scenario that really resonated with me and it was about taking spoiled cottage cheese out of the refrigerator and setting it on the counter. When you come back two weeks from now to check on it and stir it, has it gotten any better from the time you took it out of the refrigerator? No, because how can you make spoiled cottage cheese better, only by throwing it away. What this means is if you keep avoiding it the situation does not get better or resolve itself, there are times there need to be interventions with employees to keep from having the cottage cheese problem.
As a leader you must have decision making skills, because how are things going to get done in a timely manner without making decisions. This is a core competency of a leader and the leader must know when and how to make decisions (Ph.D., 2014). Hiring process is a decision-making process and if you do not make good decisions when hiring it affects the team and organization. It also looks bad on the manager and a lot of times the human resource department thinks you are just hiring to have a warm body. The warm body syndrome is a bad place to be in because you need people so bad that you make bad hires. Therefore, this is the reason decision making is the core competency of a leader. When it comes to area of expertise in my field it is important to know the job role that your staff are in, in order to be the leader, they are expecting you to be. The reason I say that is because we can hire a leader to come in and do the job, but do they truly understand the job and be able to understand what the employee is going through without being in the role before. I do not believe they can, which is why I feel that the are of expertise is important, but not as important as the others.
All leaders have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their job role. There are times that I struggle with time management, which gets me behind on my work because I am helping my staff complete theirs. This could be a strength and a weakness at the same time because my staff feel like I care, but in return there are things that do not get to them on time such as their reviews, quality etc. However, they know I am busy and continue to help and work with them, so they feel they can reach out to me when they need assistance, which is important when they are unsure of the answer needed at the time. The team has positive emotions, because I have an open-door policy that if there is something, they need work related that I am always available. They know they are important to me and that I would not be there without them. I do not feel there are any steps needed to improve my emotional intelligence at this time. I do not feel I am perfect, but I feel like I have a good grasp on my emotional intelligence.
Empowerment, my employees are empowered to handle patients independently, however if they are unsure, they will come to me for assistance. I provide them with tools and visuals to help with their calls and to make sure they are providing correct information to our patients. There are staff that I delegate additional tasks to so I can see where we can progress the staff if they are looking for more in their career. Power is shared among the group and it is by being able to work with one another if they need to change their schedule. They are empowered to make sure we have coverage and to do schedule swaps with their coworkers before coming to me about schedule changes. However, they do have to get approval through me once they have worked out a schedule plan out. I empower them by providing them with constructive feedback so they can better themselves and to make sure they can handle the next situation like the one we listened to, all by themselves. I believe they feel empowered by the end of each coaching session in order for them to make improvements and when they come back to each coaching session it is so nice to see their face when they have made the adjustments suggested and they see their new scores, which empowers them even more to do well. The level of empowerment is appropriate and appreciated that they can handle each call themselves. The action steps that could be added to improve empowerment is when the employee comes to me with a question that they should know, ask them if they have used their resources before asking me this question. That provides them with more empowerment to be able to handle things by using their resources provided to them without interrupting me when it is unnecessary.
The communication that happens with the team is information and persuasion. The reason for these two are because there are times when I need to provide them with information. There are other times that I need to get their buy in for them to change how they are doing things, which consist of me persuading the employee of why. Most of the time the correct communication occurs, because they are very receptive to the information, I am providing to them. They interact and ask questions to make sure they are taking everything in to make the changes necessary on their next call. As their leader, I do listen to what they have to say, because they are the face of the organization and they are taking the calls and can provide me with the feedback needed to make good decisions for them. I feel like this team has good communication skills, because if something does not seem right, they are going to bring it up to talk about, so they know what they need to do moving forward. They are a very independent team and want to stay that way.
The team is designed well and do not believe there is anything right now that needs to be re-examined for possible change. The team currently is within performing stage. We are currently understaffed by one person and you would not know we were missing one person right now because my team is really working hard at their performance. What would improve the team is adding an additional person that we need to hire in order to provide some relief of calls they are taking daily. Overall, they are a cohesive performing team and the best time I have had yet.
- Ph.D., R. E. (2014, 04 27). The Top 10 Leadership Competencies. Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201404/the-top-10-leadership-competencies