Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to teach and visit with the Coconino Rural Environment Corps (http://www.crecweb.org/home.php) in Flagstaff, Arizona. Promoting stewardship, encouraging personal development, and carrying on the tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corps with hard work, dedication and pride, the Crew Supervisors, Assistant Crew Supervisors, and the various office staff that guide and support them, work with youth ages 15 to 18 and young adults, aged 18 to 25, who are interested in environmental, resource conservation and land management related careers. Through direct, hands-on service work such as trail construction and maintenance, or forest restoration for wildfire fuels reduction and forest health, the Crew Supervisors and their Assistant Crew Supervisors spend eight days out in the field doing hard physical labor with AmeriCorps volunteers. Hot, dirty and physically demanding, I listened and learned from these inspiring young leaders about compassionate professionalism.
Over the course of the day, it became clear to all of us gathered that effective leaders do not create followers; they create partners. They accomplish this by proactively building on the unique strengths and talents of each of their people. As Marcus Buckingham in his book, The One Thing You Need to Know ... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success, Free Press, 2005, wrote: “great managing is not about transformation - if you dedicate yourself to transforming each employee into some predetermined perfect version of the role, you will wind up frustrating yourself and annoying the employee. Great managing is about release. It is about constantly tweaking the world so the unique contribution, the unique needs, the unique style of each employee can be given free rein.”
While the world may seem turbulent, troublesome and divided this week, I can assure all of you that after visiting last week with the young leaders and those that support them, I came away feeling hopeful and inspired. Through their dedication and hard work, the world will be a better place for all of us. If you have the time and energy this week, I encourage you to seek out young leaders in your organization and to visit with them. They are an amazing group of people.
Geery Howe, M.A.Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer inLeadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational ChangeMorning Star Associates319 - 643 - 2257