As I sit here typing this, I am overwhelmed with excitement and joy knowing in a few short months, my 13-year old daughter will officially have a baby sister! Then my mind starts in on all the things I need to do to prepare, and not just at home. While I lead an admittedly small team of Budget Analysts, the work we do is not so small. I am part of a 13-person team that oversees and coordinates a $1.465B budget for 57 lines of business, serving over 500,000 Pasco County citizens. The timing of baby Cici’s birth will have me out of the office for an extended period, while my team will be working on crucial annual projects which I typically manage.
I got even more excited as I realized my being out of the office will provide the perfect opportunity to grow and develop my team. Rather than the rest of the Leadership team in my department having to pick up my slack for three months, I began formulating a plan to delegate the projects to the Analysts.
We recently had a vacancy for my peer Budget Manager position. Some of our Analysts were interested in the position and sought advice on their level of readiness. After some difficult conversations around demonstrated knowledge and capability and a lack of prior supervisory or managerial experience, we soon realized our Leadership team hadn’t been providing the appropriate opportunities for our Analysts to be prepared for this promotion.
Fast forward six months, and here we are with the perfect opportunity to succeed where we once failed! There are five major projects the team will be working on concurrently in my absence, which provides growth and development opportunities for five of our eight front-line team members. Now might also be a good time to mention, I am co-spearheading our implementation of new budget software before I go out on leave. The new software will result in new processes for completing the other four projects – one project is around training the County on using the new software and developing user manuals and standard operating procedures.
The plan is a simple one, really.
Provide clear expectations for each of the project managers, use a standardized tool for managing and tracking the progress of the project, establish milestones to maintain deadlines, and have regularly scheduled check-ins to discuss successes as well as any potential barriers to project milestone completion. With the technology we have at our fingertips, it is not going to be challenging or time consuming to have bi-weekly video conferences while being home with a sleepy newborn. I believe I will welcome the adult interaction and still feeling connected to the work and my team!
Like many women in leadership positions or with ambition and drive, there is always this push and pull between work and family. Sometimes this can lead to guilt, wondering if we are giving too much of ourselves in one arena for the sacrifice of the other. This doesn’t have to be our reality; we can be strong leaders for both our organization and for our family. It’s about finding balance and seizing opportunity when it presents itself to get a little help and grow your people in the process.
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