How open is the communication with your team? Do they say everything that's on their mind, or are there certain things which turn into gossip and you hear second or third hand?
From my experience, it is very rare to have a team that tells you everything. There's always something left unsaid, that can potentially build and escalate into an issue that if unresolved can lead to staff turnover, low morale and more.
But how do we find a way to give our teams a voice that they feel comfortable with? This is a question we asked ourselves when I worked in Timor-Leste several years ago, and the feedback mechanism we came up with became known as the SMT Plus.
The SMT Plus is a simple and yet VERY effective way to give your team a voice, and to show them you care and want to know about their concerns and challenges. It allows staff a way for staff to speak up in a way they feel comfortable, and for you as leaders to build trust and engagement.
In this interview with the current CRS Timor-Leste Country Manager Yane Pinto, as well as SMT member Alberto Freitas, and two staff members Helena de Jesus and Agus Ximenes, we discuss how the SMT Plus works, how it can be created and the numerous benefits that have resulted from it.
Here is a summary of some of the steps to consider as covered in this episode:
- Four SMT Plus members - two are selected by the staff (through confidential voting) and two by the SMT
- Members must represent the staff - two female and two male, and balance of admin and programming, as well as a balance between more senior staff and drivers, cleaners
- SMT Plus members once selected approach each staff and ask what concerns they want them to bring to the SMT Meeting
- SMT Plus members rotate, and attend a quarterly SMT meeting and observe as well as provide insight to the SMT meeting around the topics brought forth
- The issues brought forward by the SMT Plus members must represent the concerns of the broader team/staff
- The SMT needs to show they have taken action and communicate how the issues raised by the SMT Plus members have been addressed after the meeting
- Not only does it increase trust and engagement, but also those selected as SMT Plus members feel honored and take the responsibility seriously
- Non-SMT members participating in the meeting can see how a SMT meeting runs and how decisions are made at the senior level
- Keep in mind to have a translator present as needed for staff that struggle with language used by SMT
- For more information, please contact Yane Pinto - [email protected]
Otros episodios de "Aid for Aid Workers Leadership Podcast"
How to Advance as a Strong Female Leader in a Male Dominated Context - and Other Lessons
45:43In this interview Edna Morris, with forty years' experience in the male dominated restaurant industry, shares some great advice to apply to our field in many of the patriarchal contexts for men and women. For example when Edna was told by several men that the role she had taken at a new job should be for a man, she shares how she handled this situation in a way which earned her respect. She also shares advice around how her leadership skills evolved as she advanced in her career and examples of how she handled some difficult situations and managed to find a win-win for all involved. At the end of the podcast I will provide a summary of a few points of advice she gives and some ideas on how you could apply a few of these things to your situation. I know this episode is a bit longer than normal, but I made sure it is packed full of great advice that you may apply in your future.
Is Your Leadership Style Preventing Community Engagement?
48:39We all engage with communities on some level in our work. But the difference between meaningful engagement and mediocre is the difference between the community adopting new technologies or maintaining behavioral practices beyond the life of the project versus a full stop. So how can we more meaningfully engage with communities? Lucky for us, Deb Cummins of Bridging Peoples has significant experience in this area and provides some practical advice you can start using next week to better influence the communities in which we work. Some of the areas we cover in this episode include: Difference between community development and engagement At what point in project life cycle to start thinking about community engagement Why engaging with local leaders is not enough Why community engagement is so important How your staff fearing failure may prevent community engagement The impact of being process focused versus outcome focused How what we measure for success is what will influence the level of community engagement Practical ways leaders can start encouraging teams to engage communities better (starting next week!) How to influence community engagement if you work through local partners Why stakeholder mapping is so critical at the beginning of a project
Leadership Lessons Learned During an Unexpected Crisis - the Outbreak of Civil War in South Sudan
43:59Everyone has one or more moments in their life they will never forget where they were or what they were doing when an unexpected event took place. For me it was a typical hot sticky evening in South Sudan, with a broken generator in the hundred degree heat. I remember getting up in the night to douse my hair with water to cool down enough to get to sleep, and lying back down hearing fireworks (or maybe gun shots?) through my open window. The next morning we discovered indeed those gun shots overnight signified the government splitting in two and the country tumbled into a Civil War. As things escalated and we sought how to adjust to this new reality, it was an emotional time period and one which was especially stressful for our national staff, most of whom fled with only their families to hide from the onslaught that followed. Looking back on this time period, I am curious how I would have handled managing a country program of over 400 staff during this time, and how to keep everyone united despite all the chaos. In order to explore what she experienced and what she was thinking during this time, I asked Lorraine Bramwell, the Country Representative at the time, to share her lessons learned. In the interview Lorraine is very honest about her thoughts and feelings, as well as what she learned which made an impact and that which maybe could have been done differently. It is always easy to reflect back and think what we could have done or would have if we were in the leadership position, but in a situation like this you will really not know unless you are in the middle of it. That said, it is to our advantage as leaders to learn from others who have been in difficult situations that we may never experience but heaven forbid if we should, we at least have some ideas on how to handle them.
A Donor Perspective on INGO Leadership - The Good, the Bad and What to Never Do
24:24This interview is a bit different - and that is because it is not from an aid worker perspective on humanitarian leadership, but from the donor perspective! In this interview an individual working for a large, global donor shares, well, the good, the bad and the what you should never do when working with a donor. He has a lot of great advice for all you leaders who interact with donors whether during visits, or during stakeholder meetings or when leading a project. I think this will be extremely useful for you and give you some insight on what donors want from INGO leadership. In this interview you will learn among other things: What a donor may expect out of an INGO leader How to create a positive relationship with your donor How to set up your team for success in donor interactions The most surprising thing for him about working with INGO leaders The best way to seek information on new opportunities For more episodes on how to broaden your impact, please visit www.aidforaidworkers.com!
Office Gossip - Turning Toxicity into Opportunity
30:42Office gossip can be very damaging to a team and organization, not to mention the reputation of yourself and others! Gossip can lead to low staff morale, feelings of mistrust, and even problems with staff retention. It is therefore essential that we understand how to recognize gossip, what it is and why it happens. In this episode I share this as well as five ways you can turn the toxicity created by gossip into an opportunity to reinforce a culture of trust, open communication and respect with your team. - Originally published June 2019
How to Maintain a Healthy Diet in the Field
26:48Just when you think you've established a healthy eating routine as an aid worker... you have to travel to the field. Whether it's the community or a field office, eating healthy can be challenging when traveling outside of our home base. I have struggled with eating healthily in some very rural areas, but it is possible. In this episode I share with you six tips that will help you to maintain your diet when in the field, and by so doing maintain your health and wellbeing.
How to Maintain Your Health, Survive a Long Distance Relationship and Our Most Significant Habits
30:38ENCORE EPISODE (FROM 2018): This episode is includes advice my husband Shannon and I have based on 32 years' combined experience in the aid worker and humanitarian field. In this episode you can learn: Best thing you can do for your health when living in a difficult environment Our best advice for surviving long distance relationships (we have five years experience) Daily habits that made the most impact in our lives in 2018 Habits we hope to maintain in 2019 Books that have made a significant impact in our lives and work One of our favorite vacation spots If you want links to the many things mentioned in the episode, you can go to www.aidforaidworkers.com/blog/51 or find them in the weekly newsletter if you're subscribed. Enjoy!
How to Focus On Your Strengths as a Leader in Aid Work
7:37We all have our strengths as leaders. You know, the areas in which you feel come naturally to you. Maybe you even enjoy working on them. It could be managing budgets, or helping local partners, or writing proposals. Whatever it is, when you spend more time in that area, you are more productive. And when you work in areas in which you're not as strong, well... things.... slow.... down... So why not find ways to focus more on your strengths? In this episode I provide a great way to focus on your strengths, but also help out your team. A win-win for everyone!
How Leaders Can Help End Burnout in the Humanitarian Sector with Dr Gemma Houldey
45:22As humanitarians unfortunately we are likely to have experienced burnout at one time or another. And it was just this experience that inspired today's guest Dr. Gemma Houldey to do a thesis on the same - a look at the systemic issues in the aid world causing burnout. As part of a way organizations can address the burnout of national and international staff, Dr. Gemma has also published a book (see resources section below) which provides practical ways we as leaders can help address it. In this episode we cover: How we are all responsible for creating culture of wellbeing The importance of brave spaces over safe spaces How to Bring our human-ness back into the workplace The importance of bringing rituals to the workplace and how you can do so as a leader The importance as a leader of having a support section (like an accountability partner) And more! Resources: The Vulnerable Humanitarian: Ending Burnout in the Aid Sector by Dr Gemma Houldey For a 20% discount on the book enter the promo code for the above link FLY21 Contact Dr. Gemma here
How to Not Be a Difficult Supervisor
11:42We've all had them in humanitarian work. Given that we spend the majority of our time working or with colleagues, they can make life difficult. And we hope we will never be like them. That's right, I am talking about difficult supervisors. The kind that make you go "ugh". I know I have had my own moments where I behaved in a way my team probably didn't agree with. And that of course impacts team performance and morale. And so our results. So how can we NOT be a difficult supervisor, and show up as our best selves? The key is self-awareness. Find out how to become more self-aware and in-control of your behavior and results.