Personal Leadership Development Plan - Andrew Epstein
Personal Leadership Development Plan
Andrew Epstein, MPH
NW Public Health Leadership Institute
Development Awareness: Who am I?
360 degree assessment results
A personal leadership style gap analysis of the results of my Discovery 360 assessment has helped me gain greater awareness of strengths and areas for development.
· The highest scoring categories from my 360 feedback (4.5-4.8) were follow through and accountability; collaboration; customer service; and integrity and trust. Those results indicate that my leadership styles (based on Goleman’s Six Styles of Leadership) may be most often democratic, affiliative, and coaching.
· The lowest scoring categories from my 360 feedback (3.6-3.8) were conflict and negotiation; complex systems; and change. The leadership styles corresponding to my lower scoring categories from the 360 are authoritative, coercive, and democratic.
This assessment has helped me understand my strengths as well as where I might benefit from further development. Democratic and affiliative styles work well in my current non-management position. If I were to move into a manager or higher-level leadership position, it would be important for me to develop more comfort and competency with the authoritative leadership style.
While the quantitative results raised my self-awareness in the areas noted above, it has also been helpful to review the open-ended feedback provided through the 360 by managers, co-workers, and other colleagues:
Strengths: Great and compassionate leader, exceptional interpersonal skills, strong belief in what we do in public health, extremely successful in an advocacy role, outside of my work environment willing to “stand up to power” in promoting new idea or change, thoughtful worker, good time worker/thrives as part of a team; wonderful colleague and a smart, caring and capable worker; smart, well-intentioned and committed; demonstrates great aptitude for the development and implementation of projects; provides thorough and well-considered information to his colleagues; thoughtful and respectful; section leadership benefits from his insights
Growth areas: Learn how to “manage up” and work with management to create opportunities; develop leadership potential and use skills within heirarchical structure; be able to stand up to those above me and advocate for something I believe in that may not be the current or popular stance; learn to sort through the different working styles of my colleagues, and respond to each as an individual rather than as a ubiquitous unit; when I become too isolated in my work, don’t know how to rescue myself from furthering isolation of tasks and responsibilities (such as through delegation and through team leadership); find my voice within hpcdp; share thoughts and opinions more freely; we want to hear more from Andrew.
Other assessment results
· Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: INFJ - Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging
· Leadership style exercise Dr. Walker led at the 2nd on-site: Amiable. Descriptors from Dr. Walker’s presentation of the amiable type that may fit me are: Kind-hearted people who avoid conflict, can blend into any situation well, can appear uncertain, has difficulty with firm decisions, highly sensitive, and can be quiet.
· Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument: High scores: Collaborating and Accommodating; Middle score: Avoiding; Low scores: Competing and Compromising.
How do I lead or manage?
The leadership styles that I most often use are affiliative, democratic and coaching. I tend to carefully analyze situations and gather input from others before making decisions.
My style tends to be collaborative rather than competitive. On the Thomas-Kilman (T-K) conflict mode instrument, I scored high on collaborating and also accommodating (at around the 90th percentile for each), and low on competing (10th percentile). While that helps make me a great team player, the downside is that I might spend too much time on collaboration where I could just make a decision myself. As noted in the Thomas-Kilman booklet, “the overuse of collaboration and consensual decision making sometimes represents a desire to minimize risk -by diffusing responsibility for a decision or by postponing action.”
This aligns with the information provided by Dr. Walker’s presentation at the second NWPHLI on-site, regarding flexibility and role shifting to balance different leadership types. For the amiable type, where I tend to be most often, it would be helpful to increase assertiveness - “tell more, ask less, take control.”
I have good interpersonal communication skills, especially in 1:1 or small group communication. I tend to be more reserved in large groups and at times when there is perceived conflict. My low T-K score in competing serves me well in some ways, such as being a good team player, yet it also is an indicator of my discomfort with using my own personal power and influence at work.
I strive to contribute towards making life better for others through improved health and quality of life. In my professional work, it’s important that I feel like my work matters and is having some positive impact, and in my personal life I enjoy helping friends and family.
Developing and maintaining good relationships is also important to me, both professionally and in my personal life.
What motivates me?
Intrinsic motivation: The desire to do a good job and have a positive impact.
Extrinsic: Praise or constructive feedback from others.
Life inventory - Accomplishments
For professional accomplishments, I am proud of achievements when I worked at the American Lung Association in Oregon and organized a tobacco-free college initiative, which led to several colleges going 100% tobacco-free. I also initiated and led a successful effort to achieve a statewide policy for tobacco-free Head Start properties.
In my current workplace, I had some significant accomplishments when I was responsible for ongoing implementation of the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act, including overseeing processes related to rules revisions and training related to enforcement.
In my personal life, I experience some issues with chronic pain. I reversed a downward spiral many years ago and have found ways to be able to do more with less pain.
I have a wonderful relationship with my girlfriend Elizabeth, as well as her daughter Mathilda.
One of the things that I enjoy doing in my free time is playing Scrabble. My high score is 497, and I hope to beat 500 sometime soon!
What does success mean to me?
As noted above, I value knowing that I’m contributing towards other people’s happiness and quality of life, and knowing that I’m making a positive impact. Success is when I can feel like I’m making a difference for others, while also being able to enjoy my own life. Part of that includes maintaining a good work-personal life balance, and not having to take work home with me on a regular basis, whether that be actual work or stress from the day or things on the to-do list.
Success at work also includes helping others develop their own potential and do a good job. I’ve enjoyed opportunities that I’ve had to coach other people.
Personal objectives: Where in my life do I want to go?
Objective #1- Achieve my improvement goal
In a conversation with Dr. Steve Orton regarding the results of my 360 assessment, he suggested that I read Immunity to Change to gain a greater understanding of some of the issues identified through my assessment. Over the past several months I read the book and developed my own immunity to change map.
My commitment (improvement goal) from that exercise is to take risks and be willing to put myself into situations where I can’t control all the outcomes. What I currently do instead of that is avoid sharing my thoughts in large groups, check with others for things I can decide on my own, and shut down or divert when I perceive conflict. My hidden competing commitments are to not sound stupid, not make a mistake, not feel embarrassed, not lose control of my emotions, and not disappoint others. Rationally, I see how those are not rational drivers, but this is getting down to more of a root understanding of why I do or don’t do certain things.
The “big assumptions” behind my competing commitments includes an assumption that people will judge me and think less of me if I make a mistake. Again, rationally I understand that everyone makes mistakes, but I have a hard time allowing myself to make any mistakes, which may result in me taking risks less often.
Objective 1: Over the next three months, I will spend 30 minutes each week following the guidance in Immunity to Change to gather data and test assumptions in order to make progress toward achieving my improvement goal. I commit to take risks and be willing to put myself in situations where I can’t control all the outcomes.
Objective #2 - Gain increased experience and confidence leading projects
During the course of this past year, I feel I made good progress on my leadership development project, although I did not achieve as much as I had initially anticipated during this timeframe. I completed background research, convened a work group, and designed and fielded a survey of my section’s staff and managers related to our Employee Development Plan process.
I will continue to lead this project and move it forward through the following next steps:
· Complete data analysis and prepare draft recommendations for process improvement or other actions indicated by the staff and manager survey
· Review findings and draft recommendations with work group
· Present recommendations to managers
· Work with managers to establish an implementation plan.
Objective 2: Over the next three months I will complete the objectives I established for my NWPHI leadership project by producing a written summary report, verbally presenting recommendations to managers, and, if supported by managers, establishing an implementation plan related to Employee Development Plan process improvement.
Objective #3 - Seek and take on other opportunities to develop leadership skills
I will continue to discuss with my manager opportunities for me to further develop leadership skills. I will volunteer for assignments where I have the potential to make a positive contribution and learn through the process. Several weeks ago, our section manager put out a call for volunteers for a new continuous quality improvement committee. I volunteered and will be a member of that committee.
Objective 3: I will participate in my section’s continuous quality improvement committee. (Details regarding what that will entail to be determined, as the committee has not yet had an initial meeting.)
The above objectives are short-term over the next several months. However, I plan to continue seeking opportunities for growth such as those described above. I do not yet have as clearly established long-term goals. I will continue to discuss with my manager opportunities for professional development and explore options for my career pathway.
Personal monitoring: How do I ensure I live my desired future?
I will set an appointment on my calendar for 30 minutes each week to review my progress towards achieving the improvement goal noted in objective 1 above, using the process set forth in Immunity to Change.
At least monthly, I will have a conversation with my manager to gather feedback on my progress towards achieving my leadership objectives.
Resources: What resources do I need to support my plan?
I will seek out and participate in opportunities to network with and learn from other public health professionals, both within my own worksite and externally.
I will review the guidance in Immunity to Change to stay on track with achieving my improvement goal.
I will work with my manager to identify other resources that may be available to help me achieve my leadership objectives.
Barriers to success: How do I minimize or eliminate obstacles?
The development awareness and personal objectives sections above describe some tendencies in terms of thoughts and actions (or inaction) that may have presented barriers to successful leadership development in the past. Through my leadership objectives as described above, I will take more risk, engage more with others to achieve my objectives, and learn through new experiences.
I will continue to follow the process outlined in Immunity to Change to minimize or eliminate barriers by questioning the big assumptions that underlie competing commitments to my improvement goal.
· April 2014 - Complete NW Public Health Leadership Institute
· April-June 2014 - Implement Objectives 1 through 3 as described above:
· Work on my immunity to change goal, with weekly review of progress and course corrections as needed;
· Continue work related to my leadership project on my section’s Employee Development Process; and
· Participate on Continuous Quality Improvement Committee.
· July 2014 - Evaluate progress on each of the above objectives and continue or adjust as needed.
· August 2014 - Develop my annual Employee Development Plan and include objectives for the coming year related to leadership development. Discuss with my manager my short-term and long-term professional and leadership development goals and actions that I can take to achieve them.
Ongoing timeline to be determined based on progress with the above.