Use What They Give You

This month, EFBC’er Danielle Reidel, reflects on her experience in the Leadership Application Course.

Leadership Application Course. Spring 2023. As a first-time participant in strategic partner, George Karavattuveetils leadership course, I really had no expectations for how the class would run but by the end, I was energized, motivated, and inspired. As a takeaways blog, this is definitely not an exhaustive re-cap of the course content, for that we encourage you sign up and see for yourself! Below are the 6 takeaways I have from the course, one from each week. I hope this blog serves to intrigue the mind, or give reason enough for interest in participating in the course in the future, because I highly recommend it.

  1. The Role of the Leader. As an introduction to what the course will entail and the weeks that follow, George did an excellent job setting the stage for the expectations of the course as well as a foundational understanding as to why courses like this are necessary. For me, vision statements have always seemed a little abstract. They’re used in marketing, or you learn about them in new employee orientation, but then you never really hear them again. What I learned and will take from this course is the importance of everyone in an organization truly living the vision and values. It reflects in the work we do, how we engage with each other, and how we engage with the community. You can truly get a sense of belonging when the vision and values and strong and engrained in all aspects of a company.
  2. Communication. My favorite course of the series. Whenever I communicate, especially in written form, my biggest goal is to ensure that whatever message I am sending, comes across as direct and clear but that I never want to be condescending or create a tone that may be perceived in any negative manner. George identified a way to take this one step further however and pointed out the importance of two key characteristics when communicating: (1) What do you want them to know & (2) How do you want them to feel. This paradigm shift for me has really leveled up the way in which I communicate. Do I want someone to be excited from my email? To feel informed? To feel supported? Whenever I consciously work to answer both those questions, I have had the best outcomes.
  3. Recruitment and Retention. While the content of the course is important, as the series was moving forward this was the point where I realized that my biggest takeaway from a session may only be slightly related to the topic, and that is okay. Being able to take bits and pieces away to tangible execute and keep in mind is one of the most important things I could do to maximize the value of this course. The biggest takeaway from me from this session was to use what people give you and anything said can be measured against you. We should be taking people at their word. If any employee, or anyone else, tells you something, gives you a piece of information, your only option is to use it. If there is a misalignment in their words and actions, then it can be addressed, but we cannot work in the land of assumptions and that I can use in my professional life as well as my personal life.
  4. Performance Management. This course focused primarily on expectations. Are we as leaders laying the groundwork for what the expectations are of our staff? Are we clearly communicating those expectations? I think for employees sometimes it can be hard to understand the ramifications of our actions, or non-actions, so a key takeaway was being able to clearly identify the impact of their actions in their work when discussing performance, and again, it is about transparency and clearly identifying the expectations of performance at work.
  5. Time Management. The penultimate course. When George talks about time, he focuses a lot on the time spent now to set us up in the future. We often get caught up in being busy, and not having time to set goals, but if we keep in mind that the work we are doing now is setting us up for tomorrow. Rather than telling someone they were wrong in that moment, it is equally important to explain why. People need context or a possible re-direction. “Rather than doing it this way, have you tried…”
  6. Organizational Culture. A big piece of the final course of the series was a discussion on DEI. DEI is a hot topic right now and we discussed how we become a successful company that lives DEI? My biggest takeaways were to focus on performance, define expectations, and provide training opportunities for historically underrepresented groups that may have not had opportunities for them like their counterparts. You want to look and see what people have in common, what traits make a successful employee and work from there. And important to note is that differentiating life experiences will only enhance your culture.

Of course, any takeaway that I have been able to apply in my role varies immensely from my peers who were co-enrolled in the course. The collective shared experience does not negate the individual impact of the course on each person. The course is applicable to so many roles. As a key employee, I am able to apply leadership techniques to my processes and programs, while a CEO can apply the skills towards how they chose to interact with their employees and how they develop the policies that guide the vision of the organization. Our next leadership course will be offered in the fall. Leadership Application was a nice segway into Leadership 2.0 Leadership 2.0 offers more opportunities for individual coaching, as well as really level up those top-level managers into C-suite rockstars. Keep an eye out on our website for upcoming dates, and we hope to see you there!