By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission
Last month we discussed and analyzed a few examples of examination questions on the roles and responsibilities of the emergency manager. This article continues our exploration of exam topics with discussion and analysis of a few example examination questions on leadership and influence in emergency management.
NFPA1600 version 2013 discusses the importance of leadership and commitment in emergency management in Chapter 4, Program Management. Annex F of the standard states, “Persons in top management and other relevant management roles throughout the organization shall demonstrate leadership with respect to the disaster/emergency management and business continuity management system...for example, by motivating and empowering persons to contribute to the effectiveness of the disaster/emergency management and business continuity management system.” The standard doesn’t say much. Therefore, to learn more about leadership in emergency management, we refer to the FEMA Independent Study Course 240b, Leadership and Influence.
For the purposes of the certification examination, candidates need to know and understand the skills necessary “to motivate people and commit their energies and expertise to achieving the shared mission and goals of the emergency management system.” To that end, review the course material on these topic areas:
So what would some core questions look like on the certification examination? Here are a couple of questions, with a simple analysis of each one to help you prepare.
Question 1. You are leading and influencing when you are doing all of the following except __________:
a. Encouraging someone else to assume the leadership role in the group.
b. Establishing partnerships with neighboring communities to share resources.
c. Inviting other members of the emergency management team to discuss common goals.
d. Telling them that it is your way or not at all.
Analysis: This is an example of a negative type of question, meaning that three responses are correct, only one response is wrong according to the question, and the wrong response is the one that we should select. In this example, three responses are effective techniques for leading and influencing people to accomplish the emergency management goal, and one response is a technique that is an ineffective one that may actually prevent achievement of the desired goal. Therefore, to correctly answer this question, we need to identify and select the leadership technique that is ineffective.
Encouraging someone else to assume the leadership role is often referred to as delegation. Delegation is an effective leadership technique to accomplish goals through the efforts of others. In this example, delegation serves as a training program for the new leader, provides for greater communication and idea sharing, and helps gains buy-in from other team members. Motivation and initiative also are enhanced. This is an effective leadership and influence technique.
Establishing partnerships with neighboring communities to share resources is a useful leadership and influence technique that reduces the cost of your emergency management program. It also serves to build better relationships before an incident occurs, so that communication is enhanced during and after incidents. This is an effective leadership and influence technique. Inviting other members of the emergency management team to discuss common goals is another effective method for enhancing communication, gaining new or different ideas, and gaining buy-in for the emergency management program. We all know that any one emergency manager cannot have all the answers to every issue or problem the emergency management program may encounter. Therefore, it is critical to listen to others and to discuss their ideas.
After all, it is most likely someone else will have a great idea that leads to accomplishing the desired program goal. This is an effective leadership and influence technique.
Telling people that your way is the only way to achieve the goal shuts down communication and idea sharing. It also reduces or eliminates initiative and individual motivation to accomplish goals, thus making it an ineffective leadership and influence technique. Therefore, “d” is the correct answer to Question 1.
Question 2. Effective delegation involves __________.
a. Determining that all credit goes to the team leader.
b. Ensuring that all tasks are equally distributed.
c. Ensuring that the person has the necessary authority to do the job properly.
d. Guaranteeing all employees have a chance to do the same task.
Analysis: This question is about effective delegation. Here we are determining which technique is an effective one for accomplishing a goal through the efforts of other people by delegating a task to them. Three of the techniques are incorrect. Only one technique is an effective method of delegation. Therefore, to correctly answer this question, we need to identify and select the effective delegation technique.
Determining that all credit goes to the team leader reduces individual and collective initiative and productivity. Acknowledging success and giving credit where it is due is not only fair, but also effectively increases motivation by recognizing the accomplishments of the individual who actually performed the task. So taking credit for the accomplishments of others is an ineffective leadership and influence technique.
Ensuring that all tasks are equally distributed is an ineffective leadership and influence technique for delegating tasks. Tasks should not be delegated according to the number of tasks, but according to the knowledge, skills and abilities of the person to successfully accomplish the task. Delegating a task to someone who lacks the knowledge, skills or abilities to be successful will most likely result in failure and a waste of resources as well as potential injury, loss of life, or destruction of property and the environment. All these are undesired results.
Ensuring that the person who has been delegated to the task has the necessary authority to do the job is critical. Without the proper authority, the task cannot be completed as expected, because there will be obstacles to success that the person is unable to overcome, according the organization’s policy and procedures. Therefore, it is critical for the leader to delegate the authority necessary to accomplish the task while retaining the responsibility for task completion.
This is an effective leadership and influence technique for delegating a task. Guaranteeing that all employees have a chance to do the same task is not an effective technique. If everyone is doing the same task, the leader is not identifying an appropriate person for the task. In addition, the leader may not have the need, the time, or other resources available to allow all employees to do the same task, thus creating waste and
inefficiencies. Therefore, “c” is the correct answer to Question 2.
Next month we will continue our discussion on leadership and influence with emphasis on techniques for facilitating change, and we will analyze some practice exam questions. Please send any questions you have about the exam or certification process directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will address them in future articles.
IAEM Bulletin, March 2015
AEM® and CEM® are registered trademarks of the International Association of Emergency Managers.