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Leadership in Action: Courtney Stewart

"Crafted Leadership in Action highlights examples from the Architecture of Inspiring Leaders in professional contexts.

Courtney Stewart, PE, is a Senior Environmental Engineer with Platte River Power Authority. She shares how she integrates the power of language and commitment skills from our Lead by Design program into her workplace and life.

Issue

In my work as an environmental engineer, I manage two large projects with lots of moving parts. In taking Crafted Leadership’s Lead by Design course, I was inspired by the message of commitments.


We have posted meeting norms in our conference room that do include elements of conscious leadership like from Lead by Design. I decided to revisit these meeting norms for all involved (myself very much included) to clarify our commitments as co-workers.


Shift Move

Referencing the Lead by Design course commitments and other lines from our course workbook, I drafted a “project commitment form," which I gave to each member of the project team at our kickoff meeting.   


Below I share a portion of the new Project Commitment Form, which integrates conscious leadership language and concepts learned from Crafted Leadership:

Meetings

I commit to observing the project meeting norms.


Communication

I commit to using clear communication on this project. I will speak clearly using “I” statements and when stating my perspective I will distinguish between fact and opinion. I commit to giving and receiving feedback professionally. I commit to focusing on ideas and solutions. I commit to resolving differences and disputes directly and will refrain from gossiping or criticizing people.


Responsibility

I commit to taking full responsibility for my part and/or assigned work on this project. I commit to accountability for myself and my teammates. I commit to clear communication regarding my part, asking questions when I do not understand, and asking for assistance or guidance as needed.


Decision Making

I commit to making decisions with impacted stakeholders. I commit to discussing assigned work only in the presence of those who are assigned this work.


Impact

I got positive feedback about the revised project commitment form, including from a person higher up in management who specifically appreciated me for the language of personal and shared accountability (what Crafted Leadership would call “healthy responsibility”).

Also, I notice that I feel more empowered when I use the language of commitment and focus on taking 100% responsibility. I’ve decreased using language that puts me at the effect of a situation, like saying, “I’m too busy to make the meeting,” and instead putting it in healthy responsibility terms and about what I’m committed to, e.g., “I’m committed to two other activities that day.”


If YOU have stories of inspiring leadership in action, we'd love to hear them; email Nancy.