Critical GIS Skill # 8: Teamwork & Leadership

Posted by Larry Malloy on Aug 30, 2016 7:00:00 AM

A GIS degree is technical and often attracts like-minded people. Schools do a great job of teaching those aspects of GIS including giving practical experience in GIS software applications like ESRI’s ArcGIS. However there are a lot of skills critical to a career in GIS that are not taught during the degree program, and that is what this blog series is designed to address.

Critical GIS Skill #8: Teamwork & Leadership

Colleges attempt to teach leadership and teamwork by creating groups and assigning team projects. A common group scenario in college is where someone takes the initiative to “lead” the project. Assignments are allocated to the remaining team members, and then the fun begins. Inevitably, assignment timelines slip and issues arise. It’s up to the leader or the group as a whole to ensure everyone keeps up with their assignments. But what frequently happens is a few of the team members accomplish the majority of the work. This is not teamwork and this is not leadership. What lesson are we teaching? As a GIS professional, you will run into similar situations. Here are some strategies to build a winning team.

Team Members: As in college, you don’t always get to choose your team members, but when you do, choose wisely. Continually be on the lookout for the “right” people. Choose people that are competent in their area of expertise yet have strong communication and people skills. If you don’t have a choice, know that all players have a place where they add the most value. Take the time to get to know your team members including their strengths and weaknesses. Place them in positions where they add the most value to your team, then help them grow as a team member.

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Topics: GIS, Career, technologies

Critical GIS Skill #4: Become a Problem Solver

Posted by Larry Malloy on Aug 2, 2016 7:00:00 AM

A GIS degree is technical and often attracts like-minded people. Schools do a great job of teaching those aspects of GIS including giving practical experience in GIS software applications like ESRI’s ArcGIS. However there are a lot of skills critical to a successful career in GIS that are not taught during the degree program, and that is what this blog series is designed to address.

Critical GIS Skill #4: Become a problem solver
In more technical fields like GIS, problems are often looked at as roadblocks, with the phrase “I can’t because…” muttered frequently. But the proficient GIS professional knows that problems are nothing more than opportunities to try a different strategy. Problems are a time for you as a GIS professional to shine for your agency by thinking creatively…by thinking outside the box. It’s a chance to tap into different skills. Anyone can improve their problem solving skills.

Here are some steps you can take to do just that.

Reframe the Problem: Too many people “freeze” when they encounter problems or feverously try to avoid them. Welcome problems. Sometimes something just as simple as looking at a problem as an opportunity can get you thinking creatively. The higher up in an agency you go, the more critical your problems solving skills will be to your career success. Welcome problems.

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Topics: Professional Services, GIS, Career, Skill

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