Monthly Archives: December 2013

Reflections from Emerging Leaders Academy Graduate: Sheri Parker

Comments Delivered By Sheri Parker, City of Moundridge
On December 19, 2013

I have had many ah-ha moments during the past four months. One involved the simple, but complex idea of networking. This concept has taken on a whole new meaning to me. Everyone in this class has become a source of great information. I know when situations surface in the future, an email or phone call to anyone in this group will give me another way to look at solving whatever issue is in front of me. I look forward to continuing every relationship that has been started because of the great opportunity afforded me.

Another moment came one day not too long ago. I was listening to a discussion and the light came on! It hit me again, with a deeper realization, that every office really does have the same issues! The only difference is the number of people it affects. Everyone works with someone that is grumpy until they have had a pot of coffee in the morning or the perpetual trouble maker. All of us have traits within us to deal with these issues. The difference is our willingness to put forth the effort to figure out a solution and work together for the betterment of the agency. These traits were made very clear when we spent time finding out what our strengths are. I have to tell you that when my strengths were revealed, I was not sure I was very proud of what they showed. The longer we spent discussing them and looking into how each characteristic really make us who we are, I realized that being a reader, and having a “need” to always be learning, is part of the reason I looked forward to getting Noel’s emails with the next assignment and the opportunity to get together with everyone.

Before this class, if someone would have told me I am a strategic planner I would have laughed, but I can now see that I sometimes start with an idea in mind and then work backwards on a plan of action, while playing out different scenarios. I also look forward to the next change in my life. The characteristic that pointed this out also said something about a short attention span! Yeah, that made me happy! But… when spending time with that, I realized that the short attention span does help me get things done quickly and look for other projects… or… the next change!

We had some sessions that were more difficult to stay interested in and moved more slowly than others. I know that is true for each one of us. One day when I was having a hard time staying engaged, I found it interesting that others in the class were on the edges of their seats waiting for the next word to be spoken and the next idea to be given. I wrote your names down, so I will be in touch at some point in the future so you can explain those concepts to me again!

Each one of us will take something different from this class. We now have an improved set of tools to draw on when faced with the question of how to handle certain situations, whether it is personnel issues, interacting with the public, questionable business practices and many others. I, for one have always believed that being a leader doesn’t mean that you have all the answers! No one can have them all. You have to have the confidence to admit this to yourself and know where to turn for help and where to go for answers. We were all sent here by one set of leaders and now have 23 additional in our corner. Everyone has to make the most of the resources you have close at hand.