I am responsible for the financial aspects, graduate student engagement, and professional development for my School. Within the last fifteen years, I have grown in aspects of managing a single role to being apart of leadership at the university and managing a team. The position is no longer a single source, but an engagement of the leadership role. It is critical as a leader to provide guidance to help the staff understand that their ideas, approach to work tasks, and feedback are essential. The unit recently hired additional full-time staff to alleviate the burden of the day to day financial processing responsibilities. As a member of the leadership team with staff management requirements for the demands of a growing School, finding balance is no easy feat! Therefore, the profound role of leadership leads to the understanding of diversity, culture, norms, and values.
As an ESTP, people energize me. I believe I can work with anyone! I thrive by collaborating with others and value independence. The sensing (S) trait allows the ability to focus on facts and provide steps to get the task accomplished; thinking (T) strait is enormous for me as I tend to over analyze. This characteristic can be a hindrance when there is a task that needs to get done expeditiously, and I am still stuck on the details. As an ESTP, it is imperative that I have directions in place to ensure that the task of the office is done efficiently and effectively.
The finance team consists of the new staff member(SM), graduate assistant (GA), and myself. Due to the nature of the duties required of the team, transitioning is inevitable due to graduate assistants graduating, as well as the growth of full-time employee(s) into new roles. As an ETSP, in preparation for the new organizational structure, cross-training is a critical component in the work environment. I provide one-on-one training for all new hires as it relates to the financial aspects. I believe the team should understand their duties and how their role impacts the students’ financial aspect before being exposed to the actual student account. I have created a procedural manual, and carved out a training schedule checklist to assist for on-boarding new staff members.
Through understanding the MBTI personality test and my assessment of the team’s scores, my goal is to understand their personality preferences and how they can work together to build a more cohesive team. Also, it is imperative for a leader to be intuitive and systematic in assessing the team’s skills, expound on their qualities, and enhance their knowledge.
The graduate assistant (GA) is a doctoral student in the systems modeling degree program. It appears that her MBTI is ISTJ. As an introvert, she prefers solitude, which is the direct contrast to my high energy. As for her sensing (S) and thinking (T) traits, she is a quantitative learner, requires patience, and planning is key to her consistent learning. Having given projects to the GA, I noticed that she performs better with praise when a task is complete. Also, with the hiring of the new staff member, it was vital that I articulated what the GA duties would be in this transition. Moreover, the GA’s need for order clashes with my preference due to my leadership needs which may require changing directions spontaneously.
The staff member (SM) is new to the unit, but not the university. She was hired due to experience in financial aid and higher education. It appears her MBTI is INFP. As an introvert, she too prefers solitude. She is standoffish from the members of the unit and the team. As an intuitive (N) and feeling (F) traits, she focuses on the meaning of the task and strives for understanding. As an (F), her feelings are easily hurt based on her sensitive nature. Therefore, in accordance with my preference, I work to not come across as hard-hearted. Further, as an (F) if she does not understand a task, she improvises. This characteristic of the SM is a clash for my preference due to the need for understanding the responsibility, accuracy, and attention to detail.
To guarantee that SM was off to a good start, I carved out two weeks to train her on the new duties. We met daily for two hours, and as needed throughout the day to ensure she understood the tasks. SM appeared to continue to struggle with the financial aspect of her duties. As a result of the more extensive hands-on training, tasks that had been assigned was still not being addressed accurately. Therefore, I asked the GA to cross-train with SM, and my expectations were explained to each individually. On the next business day, I checked in with the GA regarding the cross-training and was met with frustration and conflict. The GA explained that she confirmed to the SM that she is to watch her perform the task in order to understand and correct areas where the SM may have veered off the written instructions and to better assess the disconnect. The SM dismissed the directive immediately, became hostile, and stormed out of the training session, leaving the GA in bewilderment. SM’s actions made the GA so uncomfortable that she no longer wanted to cross-train with SM. I requested the GA to document what occurred for future training purposes and for the employee records maintenance.
The staff member was not in the office on the day the GA expressed her concerns. Upon SM’s return, I asked her overview of the training experience thus far and to share her thoughts about the last training session. She responded that it went alright. She did not mention walking out on the cross-training session. I asked her to explain what occurred to make her walk out on the session. SM indicated that the GA’s authoritative approach was overbearing, so she walked out of the training session. SM received written notice for the unprofessional behavior displayed to another employee and the creation of a hostile work environment. SM was required to complete Human Resource training and provide a deliverable on the material covered from the session. She is required to check in with the leader daily to ensure that she is on track.
As an ISTJ, the GA was made to step outside of her comfort zone to train SM when she is used to working directly with myself and others on the unit who are accustomed to her work style. Also, GA has a direct approach, whereas my approach tends to be more friendly and welcoming upon getting to know one’s personality and work ethics, which SM had become familiar with in the short span of time.
Overall it is my belief, that this method of cross-training allows staff to demonstrate their ability to work together, strengthen communication, implement new training styles, and explore types of learning techniques from a diverse group of staff. Cross-training ensures that the work of the office can be completed efficiently while offering staff an opportunity to engage in other aspects of the School. Also, it assists with the training of a new staff member and provides a continuous resource for guidance to the team as needed.
I believe leadership is an activity, which is learned. Through my analysis, development in effective communication, trust in the team dynamic, and expansion of knowledge, is beneficial for the growth of the team as future leaders are developed. It is essential to recognize the team personalities, adjust the duties according to the needs of the staff member and unit. Finally, it is imperative that I identify how they best work individually and collaboratively to achieve the overall mission and goals of the unit.