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Hold Yourself to a Higher Standard
By Dee Perez
NAPS New York Area Vice President
EAS values comprise integrity, responsibility, leadership, communication, respect, resilience and empathy. Now is not the time to discuss what is wrong with Postal Service management and the chain of command in so many different topics. Now it’s time for us to look inward, examine ourselves and assess how we perform our jobs and conduct ourselves with our employees—especially with each other as EAS employees.
Integrity—if you haven’t heard this word used often enough, I don’t know where you have been working all this time. As an EAS employee, your credibility always must be unquestioned toward your craft employees in order for them to follow your instructions. Equally important, though, is your credibility with your EAS subordinates and superiors.
Every EAS employee needs to recognize that when they provide a reason or say they will do something, they must follow through and own what they say. Those who cover up and lie will find themselves at the end of an adverse action. Once you lose your integrity, it becomes nearly impossible to regain it in the eyes of others.
Responsibility—As an EAS employee, I don’t have to remind those in the field or in a district Headquarters position about their responsibilities. We all can agree EAS employees are burdened with many responsibilities, regardless of title and pay level. Many can argue field positions have more responsibilities than Headquarters positions.
You have to figure out a way to manage these responsibilities while meeting deadlines. Oftentimes, it may mean working extra hours or working on something “occasionally” on your own time. I’ve done this many times. Why? Because it benefited my office and me. As an EAS employee, regardless of the countless responsibilities, you still own them.
Do I wish the Postal Service would recognize they are, perhaps, overwhelming their frontline EAS employees? Absolutely! Will it ever change? I doubt it. In the meantime, you have to figure ways to get these responsibilities accomplished. You may have to ask for extra hours and explain why to a superior to accomplish this. Be reasonable about for what you are asking; be able to explain the issue correctly and thoroughly.
Leadership—A leader has to have a vision (the big picture) on how they will motivate the masses to accomplish certain tasks. It’s often done by leading by example as opposed to reiterating a policy mandate. A leader should be thinking more about the next quarter (a time frame) and the direction in which they envision where the company or association needs to go and how it will get there successfully.
Leaders also have to anticipate unforeseen hurdles and know how to navigate them successfully without placing the vision in peril. A successful leader also must communicate to their team members by sharing the message in an actionable and engaging way. As an EAS employee, you are the leader of your craft employees; you need to start acting like it on a daily basis.
Communication—By now, as adults, everyone knows that, in their private lives, communication is the foundation of any successful relationship. It applies to all EAS employees at work, as well. If you’re not able to communicate with your employees, then what are you doing as an EAS employee?
Everyone needs to engage their employees in the daily mission. You should be setting clear expectations for individuals and your team, as well as providing and seeking constructive feedback from them. It has to be a two-way street. This is not about yelling or being disrespectful or tyrannical. There is nothing in the USPS that warrants anyone yelling and losing their cool toward someone or their team. We are important to the American public, but not like we once were.
Respect—In order to gain respect, you first must give respect. It’s as simple as that. When others’ opinions differ, they should be made to feel valued—not disrespected.
Resilience—As lifelong postal employees, we have been and need to continue to be resilient. We have gone through so many different phases in the past few years—in our society, dealing with a tragic epidemic, the changes in the Postal Service management structure and the proposed S&DC rollouts.
Hiring, which never used to be a problem, has turned into a nightmare in trying to fill craft vacancies and promote the right people in management positions. Believe it or not, your craft employees look up to your resiliency when the going gets tough; you set the example of how to overcome these problems.
Empathy—This is where EAS employees need to shine and do a much better job, especially those in higher leadership roles. “You” need to understand others, see from their point of view and feel what they are feeling. This should be a value held in high regard by senior executives and good business leaders. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the many adverse actions being taken against EAS employees.
Learn to listen to others and try and understand from where they are coming. Place yourself in their shoes. Chances are you will come up with a much better solution than a proposed adverse action you wanted to issue. And you will gain a loyal soldier for your team for the rest of your career.
In my previous column, I proposed no adverse actions should be issued during peak season. I have had mostly positive feedback regarding this issue. The only thing about which EAS employees should be worried during peak is being successful. Worrying about their job shouldn’t be something hanging over their heads.
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