October 2020

An Interview with Ramona Gallegos

by Ron Hewett

Ramona attended the April 2018 LEC aboard the Battleship North Carolina. She was extremely engaged in the 3-day course and was very reflective about the value of the course in her role as an IT manager at the Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ramona has 18 direct reports which she describes as high performers. During discussions aboard the battleship she was concerned about meeting her supervisor's expectations and the pressures of having a large number of direct reports. At times, juggling her supervisor's expectations and the needs of those she supervised created an anxious environment for her.

She used the Personal Leadership Philosophy (PLP) to gather her own thoughts and express her expectations to her reports. She saw the PLP as a "clear road map" that would give her firm direction. She brought the PLP to her reports at a general meeting to explain the process that she was beginning. She then emailed the PLP to her reports and asked for their feedback. She received the feedback from most of the reports at coaching sessions which she had scheduled. She was very confident after the sessions that her reports better understood her expectations of accountability in regards to goal setting within the department. She felt secure in that there was no drama in the discussions.

She is now planning to take the feedback she received in this process and use it as lessons learned to be discussed with her team for the new year soon to come. She is extremely confident that the entire process will provide excellent results for the team in the new year.

Meanwhile, Ramona shared her philosophy with her supervisor and they had an excellent heart-to-heart about how her philosophy compared to her supervisor's expectations. Ramona was highly energized after that discussion. She felt for the first time that her supervisor and she were on the same page, and based on the insights she had attained during the Energize2Lead™ discussions, she was confident in understanding where she would have to make adjustments in order to get into sync with her supervisor's leadership style.

Soon after the PLP roll-out process, Ramona addressed a national group of federal laboratory leaders at a technology summit for best practices and discussed her learning experiences in regards to becoming a new IT manager and value of receiving training in soft skills that prepared her for the challenges she faces on a daily basis.

During our interview and post-course coaching sessions, it was obvious that Ramona had gained a great deal of confidence in the work place and was prepared to take on more challenges. She will continue to use the PLP as a good bridge for coaching sessions with her direct reports and keep the door open for feedback.

In the two years since the original interview with Ramona, she has continued to champion the Personal Leadership Philosophy process as an important opportunity to improve the dynamics of her team. In August of 2020 she initiated a virtual Personal Leadership Philosophy workshop for her reports and other department members. The workshop was preceded by a virtual Energize2Lead™ Workshop to develop a deeper understanding of their own needs as leaders and the impact of their leadership style on other colleagues. Afterwards, she and her boss confirmed the positive impact of the two programs on helping to keep the teams engaged during the trying times of the COVID-19. As it turned out, the timing of the workshops also helped their department members gain better insights into how their personal values and communication styles impact their understanding of the significant social issues confronting the work place and nation.