‘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.
Name: Steve Ivey
Age: 61 on Jan. 30
Title: Director of Parks & Recreation
Family: Wife Rhonda, daughters Lauren and Jennifer, son Ross.
Education: Butler High, Athens State University.
Background: Began with Parks & Recreation in September 1975 as a lifeguard, eventually becoming assistant director, then director of the natatorium. Served 15 years as Recreation Director. Named as Director of Parks & Recreation in April 2015.
What You Didn’t Know: Ivey was a college prospect as a football standout under coach John Meadows at Butler, but a severe knee injury “turned me from a running fullback to a pulling guard.”
Ivey on Leadership: I feel like a coach that is building a team to lead the Parks & Recreation Department because management is like coaching. So, how do you get there?
First, you select your team. Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics said, “How you select people is more important than how you manage them once they are on the job.” If you start with the right people, you won’t have problems later on.
Second, have a game plan. A coach constantly works on formulating and communicating his game plan. Once the game plan has been drawn up, he communicates to the entire team. As former Auburn coach Gene Chizik said, “Plan your work, work your plan.”
Communicate your game plan by telling employees what you expect of them, give them an opportunity to perform and instruct and empower them when they need it.
Third, huddle. Coaches need to take the time to huddle. An important part of the communications process is huddling, sharing the game plan and how it is to be implemented. When the coach and players exchange information, communication must flow both ways.
Fourth, make changes when necessary. A coach has opportunities to make an impact by changing the following:
Personnel – Often the best way to solve a problem is to allow different players to tackle it.
Play – Flexibility is a valuable quality. The best coaches are good at making necessary adjustments.
Time out – You might need to stop and regroup.
Finally, command respect. The coach must command the respect of all the players. That must be earned over time – and there are no shortcuts.
He does so by being trustworthy, having the ability to make the hard decisions and to assess the individual. Coaches do not treat everyone the same. And don’t dwell on yesterday’s victory. Your focus is on what is ahead of you rather than what is behind.
I’d like to end with this quote from Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant:
“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. Set another goal and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.”