By Janine Finnell, Executive Director, Leaders in Energy and CWEEL Board Member
I recently attended a seminar focusing on achieving optimal performance from energy managers, engineers, and team leaders. Whether you are a first time Manager or a seasoned Manager/Director with years of experience, this course is for you! We all need to be cognizant of our communication style and those of the team members we manage. Our role as leaders is to maximize our employees’ potential in order to achieve results. This course allows you to dedicate time to reflect and be aware of how your style affects the team you manage.
Seven concepts resonated with me that you may find helpful in improving your capabilities as a manager which are provided below. The two-day “Management EssentialsTM” seminar was offered by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) on March 20-21, 2017 in conjunction with its GLOBALCON event in Philadelphia, PA. It was designed to provide a clearer understanding of fundamental management strategies and how to most successfully and effectively apply them for optimum results. The seminar was organized by the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL), a component of AEE, which helps women professionals to advance in the energy industry. Seminar attendees included managers from both private and public organizations. The program featured nine modules titled: Human Fundamentals, Management Fundamentals, Communications Essentials, Motivation and Inspiration, Evaluation, Developmental Coaching, Corrective Coaching, Delegation, and Visioning.
The course instructor, Jim Hornickel, is a seasoned management specialist and the CEO of Bold New Directions, Inc. who has worked in over 50 countries worldwide. His company focuses on transforming people and performance through learning. The seminar drew from the latest knowledge across a spectrum of disciplines from management science, psychology, and neuroscience research on the brain. Jim included role playing and exercises with partners to demonstrate and help us better understand key management strategies.
Concepts that were covered in the seminar, which may be helpful to you and your team, included:
- Strive to do five new things a day to help you to have greater flexibility, enhanced versatility, and more capable problem solving. Neuroscience research shows that new patterns can be developed in the brain to bring about more creativity and flexibility from engaging in new daily activities. Examples include switching the placement of a watch normally worn on one arm to another, sleeping on a different side of the bed, taking a new route to work, etc. By exposing the brain to novel, adaptive experiences, it is challenged to work in different ways that help to create new neural pathways.
- Develop SMART goal setting by establishing Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Resources, and Time specific goals. Incorporate SMART goals to help both you and your employees know whether all are doing their job effectively. In addition, obtain consensus regarding a schedule of periodic reporting to see what progress is being made.
- Make it a practice to “Catch People Doing Something Right” every day. On the other hand, when a team member knows what to do and how to do it, but is not getting it done, use “corrective coaching” to remedy the situation. Point out “What you did well was____” and “What you can do even better is ____.” This approach is recommended as an alternative to the more traditional “sandwich” technique where an issue needing improvement is sandwiched in between two positive comments.
- Utilize enlightened and more effective manager – leader styles (referred to also as servant leadership, consultative leadership, collaborative leadership, transformative leadership, and co-active leadership). This style is supplanting the old hierarchical “command and control” management where managers led “at” team members rather than leading “with” employees. Collaborative styles utilize more two-way communication and acknowledge that everyone is creative and resourceful. It is your job as the manager to be the detective to uncover the strengths and weaknesses inside them.
- Improve your conscious listening skills by learning to identify and use more open-ended questions (What…, How…, Tell me more about…, Help me to understand…) versus close-ended questions (Are…, Will…, When…, Where…, Did…, and Who…). We were also introduced to four behavioral styles including the Doer, the Thinker, the Talker and the Guardian to also help us to understand ourselves and our team members from the “Outside In.”
- Ask yourself “What am I missing?” A video was presented on “The ‘Monkey Business’ Experiment” that allowed us to become aware of the concept of selective attention to enable us to be aware that it can be easy to miss important details. This can also be helpful in recognizing our blind spots.
- Identify your key values and what motivates you and similarly learn about the key values and motivators of your team members. This will enable understanding of how to inspire and motivates team members and how to better understand them from the “Inside Out” as a component of emotional intelligence. As expressed in the Bold New Directions materials, “Emotional intelligence is the ‘something’ in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.”
These and other concepts offered through this seminar will truly help me in strengthening the organization that I direct and for me to strive to obtain the best from my other team members. This was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the valuable content conveyed in this seminar. You may wish to consider taking this course in the future at an Association of Energy Engineers conference which is offered throughout the year in various locations in the United States.
The class demonstrates an appreciation technique. Shown (l-r front row): Deborah Lenny, Elizabeth Flattery, and Jamie Paulson; (l-r standing) Janine Finnell, Jennifer Gorka, Jim Hornickel (Instructor), Miguel Quiroz, and Bradley Johnson. Brett Crumley was also an attendee.