By Ken Fields, City Manager, City of Lake Wales
On November 20th the City of Lakeland hosted an FCCMA Symposium on “Stay in the Game: Developing Your Roster into an All-Star Team”. After an introduction by Jim Barnes, Assistant City Manager of Wellington, a presentation was done by Lisa Gruenloh of Purpose Journey, Inc. on Cultivating Emotional Intelligence to Develop Star Performers, Drive Outcomes and Appreciate Differences. The presentation provided an introduction to the concept of Emotional Intelligence and how understanding it can benefit both individuals and organizations. For individuals emotional intelligence provides for improved self-awareness and self-management and helps avoid the snap judgments and “emotional hijacking” that our brains are wired for in many situations. For teams and organizations, it improves social awareness and team relationships by improving communication and avoiding conflict. The second presentation by Joe Abel, Director of Leisure Services for Seminole County was on Generational Diplomacy: Appreciating and Utilizing Our Differences. Joe explored the historical factors that influence each of the generations currently in the work force (Silents, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millenials) and how each may have different expectations of what their job should be, how they approach it and what managers need to understand in dealing with each group.
The afternoon sessions began with another presentation by Lisa Gruenloh on Preventing, Managing and Resolving Conflict Effectively. The session identified the differences between healthy and unhealthy conflict and ways of resolving differences. The session included looking at one’s own inter-personal skills and how to effectively give and receive feedback in a constructive manner. The day’s final session was presented by Michael Cernech, City Manager of Tamarac on Why Do Good People Do Bad Things? Lessons From South Florida’s Experience With Public Corruption. Mike’s presentation showed how elected officials and city staff easily allowed themselves to be led down a path of illegality by corrupt developers because a culture of honesty did not exist within the organization. It was an object lesson in what to watch out for and how hard it can be to change a government culture. In total, the lessons of all the sessions would be valuable to any current or upcoming government manager.