Over 20 middle-management employees of the Ministry of Communities participated in a training exercise last week through the Caribbean Leadership Project (CLP). This exercise was facilitated by Executive Director of the Bertrum Collins College of Public Service, Randolph Leitch and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Women and Gender Equality Commission, Diana Swan-Lawrence.
The three-day forum, which is being held under the theme “Leading for Results from the Middle” opened on February 13 at the Georgetown Club, continued on February 20 and is expected to conclude on February 27.
The leadership seminar saw Heads of Departments and senior staff represented from the procurement unit, municipal and regional services, public relations, technical, administrative, personnel, special projects and engineering units.
Tuesday’s session focused primarily on problem solving interventions, active listening and other critical components of collaborative leadership.
The intervention forms part of the Ministry’s larger focus on capacity building and training of staff to better support the process of reform in the local government system. The training modules focus on transformational leadership, creating trust through effective leadership skills and influencing leaders through effective communication.
Permanent Secretary, Emil McGarrell who opened the sessions, urged the employees to participate as much as they can and transfer the knowledge garnered to their respective areas of responsibility.
McGarrell also encouraged the participants to apply their newfound skills to achieve their goals and positively influence the people with whom they work and come into contact with on a daily basis.
Delivering a message from the Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, the permanent secretary called on the employees to take full advantage of the training opportunity towards the enhancement of their personal growth and for realising cohesive, empowered and sustainable communities.
The middle-management employees were selected since they are well-positioned between the top level leaders and line managers and have a critical role to play in the leadership development context.
These managers are required to lead in operational challenges such as dealing with budget cuts in a context of rising demand for services, the need to create greater group or organisational efficiency, working in a context of continuous change, dealing with bureaucracy and increasing organisational performance.
Also critical to level three managers is the ability to address strategic leadership challenges such as vision, mission, broad environmental factors that impact an organization, or strategic planning and developing of implementing HR systems and processes or dealing with human resource related issues and problems of work/life balance.
The Caribbean Leadership Project is a seven-year programme funded by the Government of Canada with a view to enhancing the leadership capacity within the public sector and regional institutions in 12 Caribbean countries.
As part of its mandate to support, Heads of Government and key regional institutions through the development of leadership capacity, the CLP is undertaking its 2nd Action Research Roundtable project on the Enabling Environment for Leadership Development and Practice in Caribbean Public Services and regional institutions.
This aims to develop a deeper understanding of the enabling environment in which leadership is developed and practiced; increase organisational capacity to internally assess its enabling environment and develop and implement plans to make its internal environment more enabling for leadership development and practice.
To this end, the CLP has developed an enabling environment assessment tool, based on its Caribbean-wide research on leadership development and practice.
The Ministry of Communities has agreed to pilot the toolkit, as a part of its broader organisational change initiatives and strategic objectives.
As a participating organisation, the Ministry will conduct an assessment and develop an improvement initiative for implementation in the Ministry.
The pilot project began with an assessment to determine the extent to which the environment is enabling Transformational Leaders, and to assist in pinpointing key factors to address and provide tools and support to initiate organisational change through our pilot.
Heads of Departments and Senior Staff participated in the pilot project, which was initiated with the completion of the online assessment which was then used to inform the direction of the pilot.
On completion of the assessment, an “Enabling Environment Indicator (EEI) Organization Assessment Interpretive Report for the Ministry of Communities” was compiled.
Based on the EEI assessment report the key areas in order of priority for immediate improvement were the development of leadership skills, providing necessary resources and sustaining leaders’ wellbeing.
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