Monthly Archives: January 2009

Executive Supervision, Part I

This article is an expansion to a presentation that I gave to doctoral students at Old Dominion University on October 16, 2008. The presentation related to administrative supervision in a community mental health center. However, the principles outlined in this paper are useful in any organization.

What does it take to be an effective Executive? Many books and articles have been written about this. Therefore, this article comes from a variety of sources and has been validated by those I have supervised and my own life experiences.

What do Executives do? I have encountered this question often. What do you do? This is often hard to describe in a social setting, usually at a party over drinks. But here’s the short of it. An Executive does the following: plan, organize, integrate, motivate, measure, lead, teach and support.

Planning is the roadmap to the organization’s successes and it is the job of the Executive to make planning a priority. Planning must be done both strategically and tactically. The Executive helps his team see the big picture or vision; therefore both long-term strategic planning as well as short-term and weekly tactical planning is required. It is the Executive duty to assure and guide the team through this effective planning process.

Planning, in itself, won’t help the organization to be efficient and effective if the Executive is not organized. The Executive must organize his or her work to assure that the team’s effort is focused on those tasks that are most critical to the organization reaching its goals or results.

Integrating information and possibly service functions and/or units will help an organization to operate efficiently and effectively. This can be a big task for an Executive. How do you make sense of information coming to you from different sources; how can you assure that like functions are integrated and are operated the same when the functions are being carried out at different locations. How do you get “chiefs” to talk with each other? How do you get them to see that for the betterment of the customers and even their own units that everyone in the organization has to think, communicate and work in an organized, integrated fashion? An organization that operates in silos will never be efficient or effective and in the long run will go out of business. Motivating employees is one way; therefore, an effective Executive must motivate.

Motivation is a constant duty of the Executive. Motivation is easier to perform if the Executive establishes a relationship with his or her employees and the Executive demonstrates that he or she values the employees as people, praises their efforts and rewards their performance (John Maxwell, 2003). Tom Rath and Barry Conchie validate John Maxwell’s premise. In their book, “Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow” the authors said that trust and compassion are basic needs that employees look for in their leaders.

Trust is built through relationship and compassion also comes from having a relationship with the employees. One example of compassion is having that “tough conversations with people about their performance and their positioning” (The Gallup Management Journal, p. 4). An effective Executive or leader is capable of motivating people during good times and it is especially essential to be a motivator when the organization is facing challenges. Challenges often come when an organization is not meeting its performance objectives.

An effective Executive must know the numbers. The Executive must know that the organization is succeeding or winning and that requires the Executive to measure pre-determined indicators. The Executive must be sure that key metrics are established and those metrics must be monitored and measured frequently.

Harold C. Lloyd writes in his book “Am I The Leader I Need To Be” that the Executive or leader “must be able to read and understand the performance indicators…. A leader must also be able to detect impending problems and spot wide-open opportunities before they slip away to the competition. Genuine Leaders are capable of making decisive and calculated decisions based on facts and figures rather than on feelings and emotions.” (p. 76). In other words, the Executive is expected to lead.

The Executive must lead, teach and support his or her people. An effective Executive has the trust of his or her people because the Executive is not only strategic, visionary and make things happen, the effective Executive walks the talk. The Executive then allocate resources to teach the employees new skills required to be successful and provide measured support to help employees during the transitions of doing business differently.

When the Executive walks the talk, teach and offer support, the Executive creates a sense of security and stability throughout the organization. I believe this inspire and energize employees to be innovative and responsive to the customers and thus, assure the organization ongoing success and survival.

In part II of this article, I will discuss additional administrative competencies needed of an effective Executive.

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I wrote this on January 20, 2009, Inaugural Day. I decided to post this today after witnessing struggles by people of goodwill.

“God’s purpose is greater than your pain, and he has a greater purpose than your problems” (Max Lucado, 2004).

A lifetime of struggles; what’s the greater good in that?

I often read and hear that there are reasons for our struggles; that we will be better for them. Well, when will the betterment begin? Do we struggle because of our choices or do we struggle because of our lot in life? Does it really matter how problems come about—we still struggle.

We struggle for the greater good. Some struggle because they choose to fight for the greater good of humankind; for social justice; to make this world a better place for all.

On this Inaugural Day, I appreciate those who struggle for the greater good. For those who struggled for the greater good gives me hope for a better tomorrow.

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Your Leadership Quotient

Do you know your Leadership Quotient? I didn’t know mine until last week. I went to a leadership seminar on January 17, 2009 entitled: “Am I The Leader I Need To Be?” The seminar was offered by Harold C. Lloyd. In fact he has a book written with the same title. The seminar is chocked full of information and is a low risk means to obtain your Leadership Quotient. You get to evaluate yourself in several areas, to include: vision and passion, execution, communication, honesty, mentoring, self-development and many other leadership qualities. To obtain your Leadership Quotient or to learn more about Harold C. Lloyd, you can go to his website at:

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From Vision to Reality

“…We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you. 5. I am black and beautiful….”Song of Solomon, 1:4-5, NRSV.

I am black and beautiful. Not hard to say or believe now, but there was a time when I and many African-Americans wishfully wondered about such a statement: “I am black and beautiful. Yet today we have reason to celebrate; a reason to be proud of our skin color. For if it was not for Martin Luther King and the many civil rights leaders and brave souls of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, January 20, 2009 would not be a reality today.

On Monday, January 19, 2009, the nation will celebrate and honor the work of Martin Luther King—the “Drum Major for Justice.” – “The Dreamer” – whose dream is becoming reality within the same generation, as the world witnesses Barack Obama take oath to be President of these United States. We go from “I have a Dream” to “Yes We Can.”

From Martin Luther King to Barack Obama and to all the community organizers, civil rights leaders and the faithful in between, we salute you. We praise you. We honor you and yes, we thank you. We thank you for your sacrifices; the sacrifices that have given this country an opportunity to live up to its creed; to show the world that America is truly a nation that believes all men and women are created equal.

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The Year 2008: A Year of Reflection

The year 2008 was a different type of year for me. It was a time to look back, but it was also a year I looked to the future.

First let me review the past. I was yearning to hear God’s voice; the way I heard God’s voice in my early years. Some say that when you are a babe in Christ; God speaks to you more often; God wants to make sure a connection is made. However, as you mature in your journey with God; God is expecting you to rely on your faith and thus, He communicates to you in less obvious ways. I am not sure if that is correct, but it certainly strengthened my faith and lessened my fears when I found out that even Mother Teresa struggled to hear God’s voice. I wrote on May 30th: “Oh God, I long so much for yesterdays, the days when I felt so close to you; I could feel your presence, I could hear your voice. I long so much for yesterdays.”

I also wanted to find my voice in this chaotic world. On 3/19, I wrote, “I need to find my voice and once I know what it is; I must have the courage to verbalize my thoughts….”

One day when I was studying Job 31:35 (Oh, that I had someone to hear me); I reflected on these words. “Do I not listen well? Do I not hear what God is telling me? I often wonder if God hears me. I never get the answer I want. It seems that life goes on and on and no words from God. People still hurt me; people still hurt others; storms continue to come and oh yes, I still sin. God help me to hear with your ears. Help my hearing to be one that can change the world because it’s a hearing of understanding, a hearing of passion, patience, justice, mercy and love. Thank you God for hearing this prayer. Amen.

I then lost two heroes from my past. My uncle Cornell passed away on October 28th; a week before the historic presidential election. I thought this to be significant as he was an advocate for justice and was a civil rights leader during my youth. I so much admired him. I was not the only one, because at his funeral 300+ came to give their respect. And yes, they were all reminded the importance of the November election—a chance to elect an African American as our president. We know how that ended.

The other person who died was a former board member of a nonprofit agency I led many years ago. Camille Klein was a special lady. The word “no” was not in her vocabulary. Her motto of “yes we can” was way ahead of her time. She was able to get all that the agency needed; whether it was in material goods and/or people’s voluntary time. She was such an angel.

I feel so grateful to have known them both. What a legacy and yes, this helped to shape my thinking for the future. What legacy will I leave; when will I retire; can I afford to retire; what will I do in my retirement. So as always I went to God.

God, I want to be your role model for people here on earth. I want to lead them…open my eyes on how to do that. Reveal the opportunities to share my leadership qualities; not in my everyday job, but in my voluntary work, in my faith community, with my side job and yes God in everything that I do and by the way, I would love to be financially compensated for it. However, God I know that’s not important to you. I trust you and I know that you want the best for me—bring me closer to your will; Amen.

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