I recently facilitated my MBTI Team Type Team building training to the staff at the Augusta Levy Learning Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. The Augusta Levy Learning Center is the first intensive autism treatment program in the Ohio Valley. They utilize methods pioneered and proven by Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas of UCLA and his colleagues. Under the guidance of the Lovaas Institute For Early Intervention (LIFE), the Augusta Levy Learning Center aims to enhance the social, academic, communication and independent living skills of its students. Each student at the Levy Center has his or her own unique curriculum based on the child’s needs and abilities and receives at least 30 hours a week of intensive, one-on-one instruction using Lovaas’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
When I met with the Director, Kathy Shapell, she was very clear on the objectives of my training. The first objective was to provide an opportunity for self-awareness and teambuilding to all the staff, so that they can be more effective and productive in their positions. Kathy also wanted the school’sTeam Leaders to learn how to give better feedback to the behavior analysts, their peers, parents and school administrators. We often forget that the best gift a leader can give is honest feedback.
Strong employee engagement is closely aligned with the ability to give honest feedback in a helpful way. A recent study of 22,719 leaders showed that those who ranked at the bottom 10% in their ability to give honest feedback to direct reports received engagement scores from their subordinates that averaged only 25 percent. In contrast, those in the top 10% ranked at the 77th percentile in engagement from their reports.
How do you make a difference to others at work? We are all being pulled in so many directions with smart phones, never ending emails and increased work demands. When I interview my clients, I often hear how terrible their Manager is at listening and how they often multi-task during a one-on-one meeting. Think about not only your career but about other times. Do you truly listen or are you more in a distracted mode? As part of the Team Type Training every individual identified one behavior that they would work on to improve their engagement and productivity. As we know when changing behaviors, the more personally interested we are in a specific improvement, the better the results. I was so impressed with the engagement level of the Levy staff to truly want to make a difference in their collaboration and daily effectiveness.
The Augusta Levy Center would not exist today, if Kathy Shapell did not decide to make a difference ten years ago. Founding a school was not on her bucket list! When she came back to the Ohio Valley after Graduate school to continue her career focusing on children with autism, she realized no programs existed.
It is a powerful exercise to ask ourselves, how are we making a difference in our careers? You may be surprised at the positive differences you already make on a daily basis, whether it be providing an informational interview to someone interested in your career or as simple as making time for a colleague or friend.
As the holidays approach you often hear stories about how individuals and families make differences in so many lives by giving to an organization. I encourage you to think about donating to the Augusta Levy Learning Center. Your donation would directly go to a program changing children’s lives. They presently have a wait list of over fifty children waiting for a spot and, to increase their case load, major renovations must be made.
I congratulate the staff at the Levy Center. They focus daily on making a difference in a child’s life and are also motivated to focus on improving their own communication strategies that enhance their impact. We read so much about teachers these days not giving 100%. Not here! I was honored to have an opportunity to work with professionals that want to be the best in their field. For more information or to make a donation, visit the schools website: www.Augustalevy.org. Take time today and visit their website.
Did you know that every day 126 people are diagnosed with autism? That’s one person every 11 minutes.
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