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    Recognizing the need and filling it

    Recognizing the need and filling it

    Photo By Clayton Church | Jessica Napier, project control section chief, discusses her creation of the Fort...... read more read more



    Story by Clayton Church 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District

    FORT WORTH, Texas - As a newly assigned section chief, Jessica Napier discovered the world of being a first line supervisor to be a challenging and rewarding experience. Of course, in parlance from The Beatles - With a Little Help From my Friends – is always desirable. In this case, the help was a little harder to find.

    “Starting out there was not even a distribution list in Outlook for section chiefs. I put together this Section Chief Mentoring Program so we can facilitate discussion and share in our common management challenges,” Napier said. “We have been meeting almost monthly for about a year. Not mandatory for section chiefs to attend but invite those here in the building that want to grow their abilities.”

    Some of the stated goals for the monthly meetings are to grow relationships between section chiefs from all functional areas, improve program/project execution and enhance management and leadership skills. The guest presenter for March was Robert Slockbower, SES, director of programs for the Southwestern Division.

    Napier, a native of Farmersville, Texas was really impressed with Mr. Slockbower’s presentation. She summed up the meeting with those in attendance by listing his main points of importance of managing good and bad stress; challenges of first line supervision; importance of team building; creating relationships with other state and federal agencies and remaining relevant to our customers.

    Napier went on to expand on the points presented.

    1. No matter the problem, there is always a solution (if that is your goal). Use your resources; seek advice from others with experience and knowledge.

    2. Irrelevance is the result of lack of adaptation to change. Any change requires overcoming the initial disbelief phase. You can lead people to believe that the change is real and that it can work. Then you gain irreversible momentum.

    3. Day to day activities can easily take all of your time. Managers should set aside 20 percent of their time to set priorities and take meaningful action toward those priorities.

    4. Ensure that you understand the value we provide to our customers. We need to tune our work processes to maximize that value. Think long-term (50 years in the future).

    5. Everything that you do either builds or degrades trust. Be thoughtful in your communications.

    6. Focus on soft skills training equally with technical training.

    7. Build your ability to influence others without authority. This is possible when you have good and trusting relationships with others.

    8. Follow up important informational email messages with a web-meeting to ensure understanding among the audience.

    Slockbower is the latest presenter to the Fort Worth District Section Chief Mentoring Group. Past presenters include human resources representatives, Peggy Grubbs, Fort Worth Deputy District Engineer and Brian Kamisato (when he was the Deputy for Programs at Southwestern Division). Joe Lujan, a project manager within Fort Worth District’s civil branch of Programs and Project Management Division, described the meeting with Slockbower by saying “he always has some great insights.” Lujan added that meeting with the mentor group has helped with team building and building trust and relationships with the project delivery teams. “We are able to work to solve problems and to keep communication flowing so there are no surprises,” Lujan said.



    Date Taken: 03.24.2015
    Date Posted: 03.24.2015 12:46
    Story ID: 157896
    Location: FORT WORTH, TX, US 
    Hometown: FARMERSVILLE, TX, US
    Hometown: FORT WORTH, TX, US

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