Building and Leading High Performance Teams
Tuesday, May 1
John Tyler Community College Campus
Kathy Gregory has spent her career helping organizations improve effectiveness and productivity by providing them with strategies to develop high performing teams. Kathy has discovered the key to an organization’s effectiveness is the strength of its teamwork or what she refers to as, “an organization’s last untapped resource.”
“Human resources are powerful and if we can mitigate conflict in a team’s environment, then we can unleash the team’s competencies and energies. Teams come in a variety, whether structured as a committee, or focused on a specific problem or functional area. All teams share a common need to work collaboratively and interact effectively in order to meet established goals. My role is to help team leaders leverage their own strengths and expand the tools in their leadership toolbox so that they can provide their teams with the resources, structure and motivation to get the job done.”
Kathy’s course on building and leading effective teams draws extensively upon her career in human resources at the Staunton District of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), where the team she led received national recognition as an AASHTO Exemplary Partner for strategic planning. Using transportation industry examples, Kathy helps team leaders, supervisors, or anyone who participates in teams or committees gain a better understanding of team dynamics. Participants learn about what motivates people to work collaboratively to achieve desired outcomes.
Kathy leads her classes through a number of exercises and class discussions, demonstrating a number of team-building strategies that are based on current behavioral and organizational effectiveness research.
“It is helpful to learn about leadership skills in a group environment where each participant is responding to other people’s experiences,” she says. “Participants in this class leave better equipped to inspire their own employees, colleagues and teams and have a better understanding of their own strengths as a leader and their capacity to lead and achieve.”
Kathy suggests that the management of team dynamics – particularly managing expectations and resolving conflicts – is typically a team leader’s most pressing issue. “If a team leader can ensure that each member feels valued and that everyone is clear on objectives, roles and outcomes, then the team has much-improved odds of being effective at their task. Using some of the tools in the leadership toolbox will, at the very least, give team leaders the resources to manage conflict and improve effectiveness.”
Kathy has seen these strategies in action through her work with Camp Star, an organization she founded to provide underserved youth with high quality, free programming and leadership development. Through the camp’s “leadership lab”, teens plan, fund and deliver youth programs in their own communities. Kathy explains that, “while we start with minimal resources and limited experiences, I have witnessed teams grow and achieve great things when we tap into their leadership potential and inspire them to work together and strive for common goals. These leadership strategies work and demonstrate that leadership can be taught. As a result, team-building can be career-building.”
Kathy is a consultant in the areas of organizational behavior, team development, leadership education, strategic planning and customer service. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Radford University. Kathy has worked with a diverse group of organizations including nonprofit groups, engineering service providers, government agencies and manufacturing companies as well as in human resources for VDOT for eight years.