One quality that makes a leader effective is understanding of domain. A domain is the context in which the leader’s organization operates and in which its job responsibilities are performed. In the National Park Service, a domain may be a single park area or component, a whole park, or even a whole region. It is vital to understand the interior of one’s own domain but that is not sufficient. To be successful, a leader must see how his or her domain fits into the bigger picture.
Understanding the domain always begins with knowing what the organization is trying to accomplish and why. This means having a good grasp of the big picture and seeing how you and your team fit into it. For a Facility Manager in the NPS, an example is understanding the importance of good data. It is insufficient to simply know that the division is supposed to collect data. A good Facility Manager should also understand what the collected data means and what it conveys to others who will look at it.
To reach this level of understanding the leader must always be learning. He or she must make a habit of knowing about everyth...
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...rst step toward understanding and respecting people is knowing who they are. A good leader should make a consistent habit of meeting and getting to know everyone he or she can, at all levels of the organization. Daft (2015, p. 158) cited a story told by Walt Bettinger of Charles Schwab about how he spent weeks encountering the same cleaning lady without ever learning that her name was Dottie. The lesson was not that a leader should try to be friends with everyone but that he or she should strive to be at least familiar with and care about everyone, from the other leaders in the organization to the custodial staff. Furthermore, the good leader will work to maintain these connections through regular interaction. A quick “Hi, how are you doing?” in the hallway or out in the field can knit together an institutional fabric of mutual care and respect to the benefit of all.
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