Name: Joy McKee
Title: Director of Landscape Management, Green Team and Cemeteries
Family: Husband Tim, children Dean, Jared and Kristen, with five grandchildren and a sixth on the way.
Background: Grew up in Goodlettsville, Tenn. Been with City of Huntsville for 18 years, starting as Director of Operation Green Team, an affiliate of the national Keep America Beautiful program. Currently State Leader for Keep Alabama Beautiful. Assumed leadership role with Landscape Management, Cemeteries and Street Sweeping.
What You Didn’t Know: “I’m a sweet freak. I love candy. Now, I try to exercise and walk it off. But I have stashes everywhere. The people who are close to me, they come in and steal from the stash.”
McKee On Leadership: There are six facets that define leadership qualities that I believe are important.
The first is to be innovative. There’s a definition of that: “Application of better solutions that meet new requirements.” We must think outside the box. We decide how we and get this done and what resources must be allocated to reach the goal. Finally, we must inspire employees, who might be stepping outside their comfort zone.
The second is to be responsive. We have to communicate employees and inspire them to give customer service, to go the extra mile. I have to hold myself accountable and I have to hold my employees accountable.
The third is to be empathetic. As Daniel Pink said, it’s “about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.”
The fourth is to be a disciplinarian. There is only so much amount of time, and time has to be used wisely. I must be self-disciplined and get employees to emulate that. I communicate my expectations, use progress reports, offer constructive criticism and celebrate their achievements.
The fifth is the role of coach/cheerleader/Mom. This is where the real fun comes in for me. I can offer thanks, praise and appreciation. A true leader appreciates, above all.
Finally, there is the people reader. You must find a common ground. You certainly must know your employee, but you also must know the community, its volunteers and its leaders. They all must be on the team, and I have to stay aware of how to partner with them to accomplish our needs.
‘My views on leadership’ is a regular CityBlog series. Get to know a new City of Huntsville Department Head and their leadership style in this weekly series.