Four association CEOs weigh in on how they maintain human connections with the people they work with.
I believe in “management by wandering around.” Since our association is a small-staff organization of six, it’s easier to maintain a human connection through daily interactions. This includes a quick check-in each day with each staff member. We also build on this with staff lunches outside the office to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and team successes.
—Mike Chamberlain, CAE, CEO, Grant Professionals Association, Overland Park, Kansas
People increasingly operate in virtual space. It is essential to create relationships and build rapport with those we work with—whether that person is down the hall or thousands of miles away. I make time to communicate in more personal ways through face-to-face conversations or by picking up the phone. Texts, emails, or even mail may work when other options aren’t available.
—Debra N. McGuire, CAE, President and CEO, American Fire Sprinkler Association, Dallas
Staff engagement has become a major focus for many associations. Personal communication is one of the key elements affecting employee retention and performance. For myself, that means ensuring my employees feel energized and inspired. This behavior is also the foundation of a work culture based on trust and respect.
—Rafi Mohammed, Executive Director, Manitoba Dental Association, Winnipeg, Canada
I’m in a unique situation. My office and staff are in Denver, and I’m in Virginia. I create a culture of teamwork through transparency and collaboration. I also spend at least one week per month in Denver. I meet one-to-one with about a third of the staff on each visit to touch base about our strategic plan and vision. Staff feedback, so far, has been positive, and team members are engaging in new ways.
—Tracey Moorhead, President and CEO, American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing, Denver