Valencia Leaders Share Insights on Becoming an Inspirational Leader – Part II

Valencia supervisors are inspiring their teams through a five-step action plan outlined in the Talent Management magazine article “Are You an Inspirational Leader?” The second installment in this series focuses on the importance of establishing accountability measures and setting meaningful milestones to bring out the best in your team. Kim Foster, manager of learning support services at the Osceola Campus, shares how she inspires her team by implementing this key step.

Step Two: Value accountability and performance with meaningful milestones. Nothing kills inspiration like lack of accountability. A team member who is not accountable is not engaged. One unengaged team member almost always leads to others. True accountability only can be achieved when progress milestones are clearly articulated and specific individuals are assigned responsibility for their delivery.

With a focus on the idea that inspiration is best achieved when leaders see themselves as performance enablers, Kim shares how accountability and responsibility can translate to greater employee engagement.

Kim focuses on keeping communication open among her team members. “I find it very important to communicate regularly with my team because we have several work shifts in our area [and] I do not always get to see everyone,” she said.

To best reach out to the team, she sends a weekly “What’s Up” email, which serves as a way to celebrate and share milestones, achievements, and good news. As a result, Kim said, “Over the past eighteen months, we have developed into a family, one that likes to share good news and celebrate. It has been great to overhear congratulatory discussions or words of encouragement and celebration between teammates after they read the weekly email.”

When it comes to responsibility and accountability, Kim prefers to have personal discussions with each of her employees. “When it comes to personal accountability and responsibility, I like one-on-one conversation to be certain I have communicated effectively.”

When new projects arrive, Kim first distributes an open invitation for participation to the team. “Because we have discussed their individual strengths, dreams, goals, and aspirations, each team member tends to tackle the challenge or initiative that best challenges their talents,” she said. “If, however, we are tasked with something less exciting, I typically assess the processes required and the end results desired. After that, I review the strengths and goals of my teammates to assess who would be the best fit for the job.”

When asked to take on new projects or research new initiatives, Kim’s team welcomes the work because they know their input and collaboration are greatly appreciated. “It is a rare event for someone to miss work or to act negatively on my team,” she said. “It has been incredible to watch the team meld together as a cohesive unit, as a family.”

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