COMMUNITY leaders find themselves in countless situations – some hard to solve, others easy to address. Overall, though, it is clear to me that basic leadership principles can make a difference in getting the job done well. Here are some recent examples:
Accessibility. If cosmetologists and barbers had access to information, many of their concerns would be resolved. A website is available for the Barbering and Cosmetology Board to provide updated information on test results, training requirements and training opportunities. As well, the website can be interactive where questions can be posted and responded to. These small businesses want to comply with licensure requirements but are having a difficult time accessing information on a timely basis. A lack of information impedes progress – and, in some cases, hinders activity altogether.
Putting things in black and white. Guam Memorial Hospital respiratory technicians, who have served for decades in giving patients a fighting chance to live, were told they are no longer needed. They were verbally told revised requirements were to be met if they wanted to retain their position. While many of them wanted to continue to serve in their position, there was no viable opportunity to complete the requirements in a timely manner. So, some transferred to other positions, some retired, and some are just in disbelief. Civil Service cannot help because nothing was in writing. These are our public servants who are left in helpless situations. Leadership means being fair – put direction in writing so that the affected people can go through the processes they need to address their situations.
Closing loops. When a person calls and asks for help, it is our business to provide assistance. Many times, that help comes by connecting families with people who can answer questions. Unfortunately, many times questions have lingered for so long that research is required to review the thick folders. Oftentimes, I shake my head and think, “If the person who was in charge then closed the loop, this would not have snowballed.” As well, unfinished business results in an incredible number of bureaucratic levels that must approve a decision that was made years ago.
Pushing and pulling for information. As we craft bills that will strengthen the quality of life for all people, we ask for a lot of information. We have succeeded in passing public policy in a variety of areas. Now, the challenge is getting the policies put into practice. This is where we push for information. What is the status of School Crime Stoppers? Guam Crime Stoppers is very ready to train, provide resources, and activate a strategy to have students strengthen civic responsibility while curbing school crime.
We have been asking for the status of the 1 percent of the arts measure. Any construction project that benefits from any government subsidy is to provide 1 percent of its construction costs for local art through showcasing local art or by giving the amount to CAHA so they can invest those funds in the arts.
Pulling for information gets quicker results than pushing for information, it seems. The pulling typically is asking for work already done – information on file – somewhere. The pushing for information requires initiatives to be activated.
Active listening. Listening to all aspects of an issue to determine a position or next step is hard to do – especially when the issue is controversial or emotional. Listening to the words and taking in the body language provides decisive points. This relates to business deals, law-making, and family debates. In the end, we always hope we have fair, complete information when making a decision.
Accessible, written, fully-researched decisions are leadership principles that lower the blood pressure and make life a little easier to sing about.