Monday, August 3, 2009

Pittsburgh Day 2: Management Training

I am enjoying this Stephen Leader Training Course. It’s basically an intensive bombardment of information and activities on how to lead a church program, specifically a Stephen Ministry program. They seem to have taken fundamental management practices and put a Christian twist on them. It’s very nice for me, as I am essentially a manager at work and have never had a formal managerial training course like this. While the day was long without much time for wandering my thoughts to other topics, I’m taking some time this evening to reflect on how the day’s lessons could be applied to my work environment.

The 10 steps in the system:
-- Leadership: picking the right team to lead the program. For work, this is me, but should I expand into a scientific empire, then I need to pick the right people to lead with me.
-- Vision: I should create a long-range, in some sense unattainable, vision statement for myself and my research team, then keep this on my mind as I do everything else I do as a professor.
-- Awareness: I need to publicize my work in multiple ways so that (a) other researchers know what I’m doing and (b) potential students/hires will know what I’m doing.
-- Recruit: I need to actively and conscientiously pursue the best students and potential hires for my group.
-- Train: I need to have a plan for training new students and group members, and then diligently implement that plan. I can see that this will be a hard one to follow, because doing science is an inexact science, but I think I should come up with a general philosophy about training, at the very least.
-- Commission: graduation of undergrads and grad students? Promotion of research scientists?
-- Referrals: not the best translation, as this is Stephen Ministry specific, but I think it means, for my work life, getting my students directed toward the proper project for each one of them, and thinking seriously about these assignments.
-- Supervise: I should regularly meet with them, as a group, to provide affirmation of their accomplishments, support for their ongoing endeavors, and constructive feedback on areas where improvement is needed.
-- Affirm: this is not only part of the last one (affirmation during supervision), but also affirmation in other venues, especially public ones, like promoting my students to other researchers while at meetings.
-- Evaluate: I don’t think I want to implement a periodic evaluation of my students and group members, but I do think that I should occasionally think critically about how things are going, especially with regard to the vision/plan mentioned above.

They give advice and examples on how to do each of these steps. While their material is all slanted towards Stephen Ministry, I can easily see how it is universally applicable to whatever program you are leading and/or managing. So, this is going to be a good week.

Still not much progress on my funding proposal for the military. I will spend time on that now. More tomorrow.

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