Tag Archives: leadership development

Helping Hands?

Scottsdale LeadershipAndy Jacobs, Class 27
Associate, Policy Development Group, Inc.

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

As busy professionals, sometimes it’s hard reflecting on the community outside of our day-to-day lives and those we care about.  But those of us in Scottsdale Leadership Class 27 have bonded quickly, and we seem to be a collection of open-minded and empathetic individuals. That’s why Social Services Day proved to be a rewarding experience and why I believe our class is destined for great things.

Social Services Day was eye-opening and encouraging

As Class 27 discussed issues of poverty and elderly care together at Vista Del Camino, it quickly became apparent that the recession had hit almost all of us in one way or another. It confirmed what we learned about the difference between the stereotype of homelessness and the fact that sometimes we all need help in our lives. And that the sign of a true community is its willingness to play a role in love and support.

Ted Taylor, Executive Director of homeless advocacy group Family Promise, explained that since the recession, many middle-to-upper-income families in Scottsdale are now dealing with problems like homelessness and suicide, just like other communities. Scottsdale has had a much harder time dealing with these types of financial problems because until now they haven’t experienced it.

A visit to the Granite Reef Senior Center showed that despite the physical and emotional support that our elderly need on a day-to-day basis, they are an integral part of our community. The seniors we got to know are active, fun and bring immense value to our city for their contributions. Scottsdale is to be commended for its leadership in assisting with elder and poverty issues. Vista Del Camino and Granite Reef are top-notch operations and private sector leadership from leaders such as Taylor and others contribute to Scottsdale’s compassionate outlook.

Leaders from the City of Scottsdale’s Human Services Department work hard every day to ensure its struggling residents are not overlooked. The Community Assistance Office works with a citizens’ committee to make important decisions on how to allocate funding to charitable organizations collaborating with the city to take care of the less fortunate.

Of course, we can always do more, and that’s what I and others from Class 27 took away from Scottsdale Leadership’s Social Services Day. As we learn how to incorporate community leadership into our already-busy daily lives, there is no doubt we recognize the importance of lending a helping hand to those who are often overlooked.

How can you lend a helping hand?

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Effective Leadership Means Learning to Say No

By MELISSA RZEPPA, Class 23
Partner & PR Director – Serendipit Consulting

I recently received an e-mail from a friend who works for a non-profit. The subject line of her read “Potential Committee Member.” I immediately started hyperventilating. I opened the e-mail and the first line said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask YOU to be on the committee, I was hoping one of your employees could?”

Yikes. My friends could see that I was over-committed before I even recognized it!

I may be a people-pleaser, but I really want to be an effective leader. The problem is that you can’t possibly give 100% to 500 different things, or even 25 different things for that matter. You can probably slide by and give a little here and there for those 25 different things, but are you really doing that organization or that commitment justice?

As a leader, when you say “YES” to something, whether it’s to serve on a board, organize an event, write an article, volunteer to walk dogs or solicit donations, you are expected to be as much of a leader for that new commitment as the last one. When your knack for organizing, motivating and delivering results becomes exposed and you are pegged as someone with leadership abilities, your world opens up to many new possibilities and opportunities to use those skills. The challenge is in learning to understand your boundaries so that you don’t get burnt out and, more importantly, so that you can honor the commitments you’ve already made to serve as a leader.

It’s certainly not easy to be a leader, that’s probably why you always see the same people taking on the majority of the work within the organizations that you’re involved. But, if you always say yes, especially when you already have plenty of commitments, you’re taking away someone else’s opportunity to lead – someone who may have the time and energy to give 100% instead of 5%.

So I’ve recently had to ask myself: would I rather give 100% to five different things, or do all 25 and be known as unreliable? For me, I’m finally realizing that choosing five is the better option.

One article I found from a leadership development company suggested that you ask yourself a few questions before saying yes to a new commitment:

1. Am I really the best person for this?
2. What can I realistically delegate if I take this on?
3. Do I have current commitments that are ending soon?
4. Can I really commit to this?

How have you learned to best manage your commitments as a leader?

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