The Municipal Leadership Academy

The James Madison Group’s new Municipal Leadership Academy offers a well-rounded curriculum to help your managers, supervisors, and community leaders significantly increase their effectiveness. You can customize it to meet your highest training priorities. Having a variety of topics ensures there’s something interesting for everyone. If you prefer, any of these 13 workshops may also be done as a stand-alone.

To complete the Municipal Leadership Academy each attendee simply completes any six of the ½-day on-site workshops listed below. We recommend the six workshops be done over a 3- to 12-month time period. After each participant completes the program, they will receive a certificate of completion signed by the Chief Administrator and/or Human Resource Director.

Course descriptions are as follows:

The Effective Municipal Leader

Public sector leadership has unique challenges which can overwhelm even the best managers. Discover what those challenges are and practice some innovative and pragmatic approaches to dealing with them.

  • Learn how to tap into all of your leadership potential and become even more effective.
  • Discover the difference between leadership and management and some of the myths of leadership.
  • Learn what your leadership comfort zones are and how to get out of them.
  • Find out how to balance the many hats you wear as a leader—manager, friend, the public, working with elected officials, and your personal life.
  • Work together to find out what it truly is that you and your colleagues value most in a leader.

Come and hear what it takes to be a more complete leader so everyone will want to follow you.

Communicating As A Municipal Leader

Communication is one of the most complex professional skills and the foundation to effective interpersonal relationships. The most effective leaders are also very skilled communicators.

  • Learn how to avoid some of the common pitfalls to effective communication.
  • Discover how well you really listen and how to show you care through becoming a supportive listener.
  • Find practical ways to communicate more effectively with difficult people in tough situations so that you can gain more credibility with your team.
  • Practice proven methods for using your voice and body language to get your message across the way you intended.

Take your communication skills to the next level and you’ll find leading your people a much more rewarding experience.

Attitude Sets the Tone in a Municipal Setting

In this insightful yet fun workshop, you’ll become more aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your own attitude and how to improve your team’s attitude.

  • Become a more effective manager and supervisor by practicing proven techniques for handling difficult employees and co-workers in real-world situations.
  • Discover six different “work attitudes”—the Complainer, the Know-it-All, the Wimp, the Critic, the Manipulator, and the Can’t-Be-Done and how to motivate each one.
  • Come and find out what it takes to be a winner in work and in life and the eight qualities of successful people with positive attitudes.

You’ll learn more techniques for overcoming workplace obstacles and know how to conquer yourself.

Feedback To and From Municipal Personnel

This highly participative workshop provides managers and supervisors with an introspective look at their feedback skills.

  • Discuss the five rules for maximizing positive feedback.
  • Learn a six-step formula for providing negative feedback.
  • Discover an innovative technique called “FAB” that will significantly improve your feedback in “selling” new ideas to your employees and manager, and in handling employee objections.

Having an atmosphere of more open dialogue sharpens delegation skills while empowering and motivating staff to follow the leader's vision and solve problems as their leader would.

Managing Your Time In A Municipal Environment

Many time management workshops focus on a one-size-fits-all system. In the real world there are a variety of situations, people, and professions; and it’s good to be familiar with the various time management systems available so you’re using the right system for the right situation.

  • Come to this unique approach to time management and choose the one system or combination of systems that’s right for you.
  • You’ll also find out that improving your time management has a lot to do with how you solve problems with your team.
  • Discover your procrastination potential and how to cure this common ailment.
  • Discover time management challenges unique to local government.

The biggest benefit to this workshop is that you can learn how to find more time to lead and develop your people--every effective leader’s desire.

Making Your Leadership Style Work For You

Join this leadership “self-awareness adventure” and discover your unique leadership style. Each manager or supervisor has their own philosophy of how to motivate their people in accomplishing the tasks at hand. Yet each also has a different set of skills for actually making it happen.

  • Come and learn what your leadership style really is using a proven self-assessment survey.
  • Recognize and appreciate the leadership styles of your co-workers and community leaders and how to best communicate with them.
  • Learn how to become a well-rounded leader who can deal with a variety of people in a variety of circumstances.

Many who attend are surprised to learn they have more leadership qualities than they originally thought possible. No matter what your style is, there are many ways to use this style to your advantage. And there are even ways to capitalize on the weaknesses in your style.

Strategic Goal-Setting

Setting goals strategically can make the difference between a good organization and a great organization. Learn how to become great!

  • We’ll talk about the seven stages of strategic goal-setting and how you can use them to solve any organizational or other problem you encounter.
  • We’ll take an introspective look at your personal goal-setting style and teach you how to make it benefit your team.
  • You’ll discover the diverse goal-setting styles of your co-workers and how you can work more effectively together for maximum goal achievement.
  • You’ll learn a proven technique (“SMART”) that helps you create goals that get results.

Once you understand the goal-setting strategies and techniques, we’ll work together as teams in setting some long-term goals based on your organization’s mission and vision. You’ll actually leave the workshop ready to execute your plan!

Building a High Performance Customer Service Team

Effective customer service teams have one thing in common: A leader who plays an active role in teaching the value and methodology of providing quality customer service. Given the challenges and misperceptions of customer service in the public sector, it is vital that you know what it takes to create a customer service culture on your team.

  • Come and learn proven methods for dealing with the citizens’ expectations using real world examples.
  • Discover how to improve your staff’s communication with both internal and external customers.
  • Find out how to change your team’s attitudes toward their customers and co-workers.
  • Take customer service to a higher level in your department by learning to avoid 5 customer irritants and finding creative ways to exceed their expectations.

Once you implement what you’ve learned on your team, you’ll see the number of citizen complaints dwindle and the complements increase!

Ethical Excellence in the Public Sector

Of all citizen expectations of local government, ethical behavior from municipal employees and public officials tops the list. Public employees are judged by higher standards. The press acts as a constant watchdog for citizens and one serious mistake by an employee can create a public relations nightmare that lasts for years.

  • Explore the foundations of ethics in government and learn how to strive for ethical excellence.
  • Learn how to avoid the most common ethical mistakes and how to do your part in creating an ethical culture in your organization.
  • Come and prove your knowledge of ethical behavior by giving your solutions to some real-world public sector ethical dilemmas.

Unethical behavior by just one key employee can seriously damage your organization’s credibility and departmental morale. Discover the ethical principles needed to eliminate any ethical lapses.

Building a Strong Municipal Team

As a team leader you have many challenges in creating the right culture on your team. Teamwork is the key to improving productivity, but creating a unified team is no easy task.

  • Discuss the four components of a great public sector team and the qualities needed to help your people become team players.
  • Build skills in creating a climate of trust, appreciation, cohesion, and dealing with situational conflict.
  • Work through any differences for the common good of the teams, the organization, and the community.
  • Understand your role as team leader in helping your team accomplish organizational goals and tasks.

The result will be more focused team leaders and more productive, committed, and motivated municipal teams.

Effective Municipal Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are perhaps one of the most difficult yet most important tools an effective manager has to motivate his or her employees. This workshop gives municipal managers some new tools to lessen the uncomfortable part of giving effective performance reviews and some strategies to reinforce the manager-employer relationship.

  • Discuss the seven key components of employee performance and a proven method for setting meaningful goals.
  • Master the art of giving effective feedback both during the evaluation and throughout the year.
  • Evaluate your organization’s current performance appraisal process and form and make suggestions for improvement.

Each manager will walk away confident in their ability to give an effective review and will feel more comfortable involving their employees as stakeholders in the evaluation process.

Visionary Leadership Succession Planning

Many municipalities have discovered already that it’s getting harder these days to find and train the next generation of leaders. Demographic winds of change are at work as baby boomers retire and the less-populous “Generation-Xers” prepare to take over.

  • Bring your current and future management teams to this adventure in future leadership planning.
  • Gain the tools and processes necessary to ensure that your vision for the organization and community continues and that you’ll leave the community you’ve grown to love in good hands.
  • Discover innovative ways to mentor your people so that your community can continue to prosper and you can continue to be a part of the organization’s vision even after you’re gone.

The next generation of leaders needs guidance for leading in perhaps the most difficult time in our history. Is your organization prepared to meet this challenge?

Making Change Work For You and Your People

As a manager, a critical role you play is to ease the pain of change for your people as you both move the organization forward. To help your people out of their comfort zone you must first demonstrate how well you handle organizational change, then guide them through the stages of change.

  • Come and learn innovative strategies and practical skills to deal with the challenges of change.
  • Become even more indispensable to your employer as you increase your managerial and supervisory skills.
  • Come and share your ideas with other managers and supervisors on ways to improve team and individual performance while building trust and camaraderie.

Your sincere efforts to help your people will bring you great satisfaction as they gain new confidence in their new-found ability to conquer the uncertainty of new organizational policies and procedures.