Here are responses from Jeff Towery, the Assistant City Manager of Springfield, Oregon (and ICMA West Coast Vice President); and Sarah Hazel, an ICMA Local Government Management Fellow at City of Charlotte.
“Everyone has leadership capability and capacity. Real leadership is the ability to focus on high-impact long-term issues and their potential solutions.
A good leader does not have to be an extrovert, simply willing and able to effectively communicate with groups and individuals.
If you are introverted, make sure you get the quiet time you need to prepare and re-energize before and after important presentations. Finally, it is important to build and work with effective teams.
Make sure each team includes members with the following attributes: leadership, management, technical expertise and team skills.”
Background on Jeff:
- Jeff Towery | LinkedIn
- Quick Take: Jeff Towery, City of Springfield, OR
- The Assistant with Jeff Towery, City of Springfield, OR
- New Board Orientation from ICMA.org
“Map out the right people, starting with the key executives whose sign-off on a project direction and scope (project charter) will in essence give you the authority to start working on the issue.
Get their go-ahead. Think about how you want to frame the problem. You don’t need charisma, but you do need a vision. Why is this issue important to council, the public, the organization, and how does that match up with stated values?
“The City wants to preserve and protect the environment for future generations, and reducing water consumption by 20% will be a huge step in that direction, but we need everyone’s help and commitment!” 20% by 2020!
Enlist the key stakeholders, from technology, parks and rec, facilities department, mngrs office, communications, and key community leaders. Let them know why you want their help and what special skill set they bring to team.
Speak to stakeholders about the issue and ask them what they think about the problem and possible solutions. Get them thinking. Compile all of the ideas and then work with a smaller group to narrow down based on cost, time and feasibility.
Keep your core stakeholders invested by communicating with them, and outlining a very clear work plan, roles, and celebrating milestones throughout the project.
(Leadership does not mean you have to be the loudest person in the room. If our protagonist have a deep commitment to solving the problem and is great at supporting team members, that is a huge strength that he should highlight and use!
That combined with good project management skills, a clear outline of a plan, working to define scope, enlisting the right people, and being thoughtful about keeping the team invested, and this protagonist can show his boss EXACTLY what leadership looks like.”