“Revisiting the STEP workbooks and my notes for this interview,” says Denise Gable, “reminded me of something that inspires me to come to this job each day: the opportunity I have to help people develop their full potential.”
Meet Denise Gable, business manager of the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing and recent graduate of the University of Wyoming STEP Training Program. STEP is the acronym for “Staff Training and Enrichment Program”, designed to enhance performance and motivation of staff through developed leadership. STEP includes four learning tracks which must be completed by each potential graduate: Change Management, Development Coaching, Team Development, and Communication Skills.
Gable notes that all the tracks were enjoyable and informative but not equally impactful for her. For instance, in regards to the Change Management track, "The nursing department deals with change constantly,” says Gable, praising staff for being well on their way to accommodating change in a healthy manner. And as far as Team Development goes, Denise exclaims that the nine nursing staff she oversees have already become a strong team. Then the Communication Skills track was “enjoyable”, she says, but was basically a review of material she absorbed in her formal education. Development Coaching, however, was the track that kindled her interest and became her favorite unit.
"Development Coaching provided the most tools for dealing with real life,” she noted. As an example, instead of staff discipline, this section taught managers to do the opposite: to coach staff toward better outcomes and thus deal with problems in a positive way, something Gable has tried to do in her management position all along. She felt affirmed in her strengths through this course.
“Revisiting the STEP workbooks and my notes for this interview,” says Gable, “reminded me of something that inspires me to come to this job each day: the opportunity I have to help people develop their full potential.” For instance, instead of telling a staff person what they should be doing, Gable enjoys listening to staff tell her what they want to do. She then works to help them find the tools to achieve their goals.
What does Denise Gable envision as to the “perfect office”? She starts off looking at the physical office and has a glint in her eye as she unveils her listing: “Everyone would have a window; we would have three-day weekends and four-day workweeks; everyone could bring their dogs to work.” And then she sinks into some serious thoughts: “That there would be individual characters – no robots. And that all staff would expand their learning. It doesn’t need to be formal education: it can be a class, a conference, a book, a lesson, etc. I think that when a person learns, it makes change easier to deal with and encourages new ideas.”
How can staff help her to be the leader she wants to be? With a big smile Gable says, “Bring me dessert!” This comment seems appropriate, since Gable loves to bake and often treats the staff to delicious delicacies from her kitchen. But Denise is speaking metaphorically. She says, “Small bits of relationship time where we engage socially and casually are dessert to me.” When a staff person comes to her office to tell about something funny in their life; when someone stops her in the hall for some good-natured jesting; when staff meets monthly for their “Fun Staff Day” – those occasions are “dessert” to Gable.
Congratulations to the school of nursing business manager for completing the STEP program, but the real winners are the school of nursing staff, who are fortunate to benefit from such a manager!