Necessary Managerial Skills
architecture & planning auraria library
By: Jim Wahlstrom
"NECESSARY MANAGERIAL SKILLS FOR PUBLIC URBAN PLANNING"
By: Jim Wahlstrom
Herb Smith Dan Schler Kathy Sellman
In my brief experiences as a city planner, I have been asked questions from friends and acquaintances about what exactly I do. Based on my experiences as a current planner in a public agency, I usually respond by stating that we negotiate with developers and staff on proposed projects, critique plans, make recommendations and communicate orally and in writing to both staff and board members regarding these proposed projects. These duties essentially describe the functions of a current planner in a public agency.
Many people outside government have no idea what city planners do. This is why I am always asked the question, "what exactly does a city planner do?" (Out of curiosity I would ask the same question of another profession.) Most people if asked the question, "what do you think city planners do,?" would indicate that city planners plan for future events and development or are in somewhat of a managerial role in city government. In reality, many people may have a faint idea of what city planners do, but are actually ignorant of the functions city planners perform.
All of these city planning functions, as stated above, relate directly to some form of managerial type of role. Maybe this is why many people view planning as a synonymous function of management. It should be viewed this way.
The argument in this text is that even though many people outside government view city planning as a synonymous function of city management, the truth is that planning and management functions are not commonly used synonymously in a public urban planning office. The main focus in this text will be in the public urban planning office and its managerial skill needs. Many city planners are unaware of their lack of managerial skills necessary for effectiveness in a public urban planning office.
The hope is that this text will serve as a model in recommending to future city planners and existing city planners the managerial skills necessary in a public urban planning office. This text will also suggest steps to develop and enhance these managerial skills.
In beginning to organize this thesis topic, I first wanted to pick a topic of interest, a topic that would be germane to public urban planning and a topic that would be practically useful in my own future career. The topic chosen is management skills as a necessity in public sector urban planning.
Since my undergraduate work was in Industrial Engineering and Management, I thought it would be appropriate to relate these studies to my Urban Planning studies. These are compatible and interrelated fields worth studying simultaneously.
My next step was to do an exploratory search of planning and management techniques related to local and urban planning. My search also included a review of my past planning experience and other planners experiences. This helped me focus on a more specific thesis topic.
After doing the exploratory literature search, I performed a sequential analysis of the issues and techniques related to both planning and management. The analysis assisted me in relating common planning and management techniques to the
area of public urban planning. This exploratory relationship study was particularly useful in preparing a preliminary outline.
Continuing the exploratory search and sequential analysis, I accumulated enough information to complete am outline involving five different sections. Further amalysis and findings allowed me to complete a detailed outline which included chapters and subheadings. This permitted me to present my findings in an organized manner.
General resources used were personnel, management, planning and psychology books. Other resources used were work experiences, management forums and related seminars. The exploratory search and sequential analysis of the information was especially useful in obtaining certain findings and in organizing an outline. Other resources were useful in analyzing certain areas of importance and in embellishing certain topics in the outline. The obvious next step was to begin writing my thesis paper as entailed in this document.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposition Purpose................................... vii
Chapter One .Differences Between Public and Private Agencies 4
Chapter Two Interrelation of Planning and Management 16
Chapter Three .Essential Skills of Planning and Management 40
Chapter Four .Contending with Judgmental Views... 56
Chapter Five .Roles of the Planner as Manager.... 61
Chapter Six .Learning from Past Mistakes 64
Chapter Seven .Necessary Managerial Attributes for Public Urban Planners 70
Chapter Eight .Keys to the Success of Implementat ion 125
My proposition is that public sector urban planning requires managerial skills. Many lay people believe planning relates to and is synonymous with management or vice versa. This implies a false impression. The truth is that many public planners seem unaware that managerial skills are necessary in a public planning office.
I argue that management skills are lacking in public urban planning offices. Management skills ought to be used synonymously with planning related techniques. As discussed further on in the thesis text, I will focus on some of the most essential management skills required to be used in a public planning office. These management skills relate directly to people skills.
The main objective for any organization, public or private, is to coordinate activities and implement projects. To achieve this objective an organization is dependent upon the interest and willing cooperation of both managers and workers. The same is true with public managers and planners.
Based on the above stated facts, this leads directly into a people issue. People make up organizations and are the key to an organizations success. Human relations, along with a willingness to communicate, encourages cooperative coordination, greater productivity and effective implementation. (Implementation in this text will refer to ensuring the fulfillment of anything in a public planning office).
Good human relations and communication, therefore, are dependent upon understanding. There must be an understanding of the goals and needs which are common to various members of the organization and to the organization as a whole. There must be an understanding of the interrelationship among jobs, products, services and the organization itself. Lastly, there must be an understanding among supervisors and subordinates. This is the most important facet.
There is a realization that effective implementation in a public planning office requires a management team effort. It involves significant coordination with various other people and agencies.
In young growing cities this kind of coordination involves growth management. In older more established cities it involves stabilization, revitalization and renewal management. This again is a reminder that close working or human relations and good communication are a necessity in order to coordinate with other agencies. Everyone must work together if public policy objectives are to be achieved and implemented.
It is recommended that public managers and planners enhance managerial skills in order to implement community objectives and satisfy the needs of employees, the organization and the community. These skills are necessary for any planner or manager in a public servant role.
Before preceeding into the text, it is important to review some background information relating to planning and management in the public sector. The background information is important in order to further define and clarify the purpose and objective of the proposition.
Chapter one will focus on some differences between public and private sector agencies. The purpose of this chapter is only to compare the two sectors, not to conclude that one particular sector requires more managerial skills than the other sector. The comparison will serve to define and describe some of the functional differences between public and private sector planning agencies. These functional differences as described indicates the need for managerial skills in public urban planning offices.
Chapter two will focus on some common functions and differences between planning and management in the public sector. The purpose of this chapter is to define both planning and management, list common characteristics between the two and discuss managers views of planners and vice versa. The overall objective of this chapter is the understanding of the relationship of planning and management in the public sector.
Chapter three defines in detail the related essential skills of planning and management: Communication and interpersonal relations. This chapter also probes the techniques of these managerial skills. These general skills both are essential for planners in a public setting if they are to effectively implement projects.
The supporting evidence section of this text is detailed in chapters four through six. Planners contending with judgmental views, planners managerial roles and planners past mistakes are all discussed in these chapters. These items indicate the need for managerial skills relating to communication and interpersonal relations in the public planning sector.
The conclusions section is an itemized discussion of the necessary attributes for planners in public planning agencies. These attributes are in effect functional managerial skills relating directly to communication and interpersonal relations in the public sector. Chapter seven discusses attributes for planners relating to on-the-job realities, social personal skills, basic communication and negotiating skills, work programming skills and stylistic skills.
Chapter eight emphasizes the keys to the success of implementation by using the attributes as described in chapter seven. The keys to the success of implementation to be discussed are human behavior traits common in successful people and organizations, motivation in general, independent confidence in a planner and goal orientation.
Lastly, steps will be recommended to both existing planners in the profession and planners entering public sector planning on ways they can enhance and develop the managerial skills necessary to perform effectively in a public setting.
DIFFENCES BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE AGENCIES
This chapter emphasizes the differences between public and private agencies. The private sector is about the only area with which a public sector agency can be compared. The intention is not to prove that one particular sector has more responsibilities than the other. Rather, the comparison is to prove that managerial skills are a necessity in a public urban planning agency.
Topical items to be reviewed and compared are the clientele, the goods and services rendered, standards of performance, evaluation of performance, the work environment and finally, the aspect of working with others. In some cases, the private sector may outweigh the public sector as far as responsibility goes. The opposite, however, may be true as well. In either case, it is important to realize that managerial skills are necessary in public and private planning. The focus in this text, however, will be on the necessity of managerial skills in the public planning sector.
Defining the Clientele
As far as clientele differences go, the private sectors immediate client is the real estate investor. What the investor, such as the developer, says is what is implemented. There is some room for reasonable argument and compromise, but in essence, the investor is paying for the private sectors services and has the final say in negotiations with the private sector.
Even if the private sector planner does not agree with an investor, the private planner will feel compelled to go along with the investors beliefs. Hopefully in this case, the investor will understand most of the requirements placed on a project proposal by the public sector. The private sector does not have the option of negotiating these requirements with the investor.
The public sector planners immediate client is not the real estate investor or developer as some people may believe. The public planners most important client is his or her immediate supervisor or the director of planning for the public agency. There are, however, numerous other clientele the public planner must serve. These include ordinary citizens, neighborhood groups, council members, commission or
board members and the administrative officers of the public
The question of who the planner serves is more complex and difficult to answer in the public sector. To simplify this complex question, the public planner in effect must deal positively with two different sets of people, according to Warren Jones and Albert Solnit in their book, "What Do I Do Next." The first set of people are the insiders commonly referred to as department heads, administrators, immediate supervisors, co-workers and the planners support staff.
The public planner must also relate positively with these
individuals. To relate positively requires managerial people
skills. To prove this point, a recent survey of office
workers was completed which indicates that nearly 90 percent
of people are discharged because of character trait
deficencies rather than lack of skills.
The other set of people, according to Jones and Solnit, are
the outsiders referred to as chief administrative officers
and aides, other disassociated department heads,
subordinates, elected officials, board and commission
members, private interest groups and the general public.
Jones and Solnit believe outsiders generally judge a public
planner on how well he or she presents themself. Therefore,
a public planner should avoid debates with special interest
groups and elected officials who hold rigid ideological
positions. Their attempt is to assess political pros and
cons of an issue. Likewise, boards and commissions vote on
their sense of values.
According to the American Institute of Certified Planners
(AICP) Code of Ethics, a planners primary obligation is to
serve the public interest. No matter which client the public planner is dealing with, he or she must keep this obligation in mind. This obligation, along with managerial people skills, will prove to be an effective tool for the public planner.
Defining the Goods and Services Rendered
Jones and Solnit indicate that private sector planners often
deal with markets. In other words, the private sector
basically sells their services to a particular market in
which somebody is investing. Public planners deal more with
constituencies rather than the typical buyer-seller
transactions. Because public planners work with
constituencies, their job functions are more complex.
The complexity is due to the public sector providing goods
and services using money from taxpayers. In my view, the public planner is under close scrutiny because of this fact, and he or she must be sensitive to this. This fact
indirectly relates back to the public planners primary obligation: to serve the public interest.
According to the AICP code of ethics, a planner must first
strive to give citizens the opportunity to have a meaningful
impact on the development of plans and programs. Second, a
planner must strive to expand choice and opportunity for all
persons. And third, a planner must strive to protect the
integrity of the natural environment, strive for excellence
of environmental design, and endeavor to conserve the
heritage of the built environment. I believe if a public planner tries to comply with these guidelines, the planner should be able to deal effectively with various constituencies.
Standards of Performance
A standard of performance in the public sector is how well a planner treats someone at any given time. It is important that the planner serve everyone insiders and outsiders. Jones and Solnit feel planners entering government service
for the first time are uncertain and often insecure because
the real world does not resemble the ways of the academic
classroom. Planners must understand how agencies function,
understand office politics, professionalism and ethics. Overall, it is my opinion that one of the most important issues for the public planner to understand is to grasp the idea that he or she must try to serve everyone that inquires information or knowledge.
According to Jones and Solnit, planners are hired for their
skills and potential, not because of their degree and 9
experience. This may not be entirely true, but it seems to support the concept that managerial people skills are necessary in order for a planner to serve everyone that inquires information and knowledge out of him or her. This also requires a degree of skill in communicating information and knowledge.
Other considerations related to standards of performance, in
Jones and Solnits book as well as the AICP code of ethics,
are that the planner must exercise independent judgment on
behalf of clients and employers. Also, the planner must
accept the decisions of a client or employer concerning the
objectives and nature of the professional services to be 10
performed. These two considerations are important to keep
in mind when relaying information and knowledge as well as serving the public interest.
In summary, a quotation from the AICP code of ethics is
appropriate. It states, "a planners performance should be
consistent with the planners faithful service to the public 11
interest." This should be a goal of every public planner. Evaluation of Performance
In the private sector, an employee is evaluated or appraised
based on a work objective and results-oriented performance
criteria which incorporates various performance targets,
according to John Matzer in his book, "Creative Personnel 12
Practices." Private planners I have talked to seem to
concur. This criteria is commonly referred to as management by objectives. In reality, this should be the first procedure for a public agency to adopt.
Evaluation of performance for a planner in the public sector,
though, is becoming more critical, but still not as critical
as the private sector. According to Jones and Solnit, job
security in the public sector is less present today as it was
20 years ago. Today, a public planner must have the skills
and ability to justify a continued existence in the public 13
Meeting work objectives is important, but it can also be
somewhat controlled by a public planner who is working under
somebody else. According to the Kadovic Rule, in Jones and
Solnits book on "What Do I Do Next," there is greater
potential for the subordinate to manage the supervisor. The
Kadovic Rule means that, "the maximum rewards are in the
stability of the rank and file workers and not in upward
mobility. In fact, the less inviting or more repugnant the
job, the more irreplaceable the subordinate doing it will be
considered." Also, more independence and job satisfaction
can be won by the planner doing a repugnant job under
supervision. Therfore, the main work objective for a
distasteful type of job is that the work at least gets 14
The Work Environment
The private sector planner normally only has to consider how his or her supervisor or client might respond in their work environment. The work environment is different in the public sector. Donald Crane and William Jones in their book, "The Public Managers Guide" says, "The work environment in the public sector takes an understanding of the context of the public environment. The context is basically politics. This is an area where decisions are made that effect an entire
community." Public planners are usually in a position of making recommendations and decisions that may effect how an elected official might respond, how neighborhood groups might react or how a manager or mayor might view the decision or recommendation.
There is also more strict accountability of finances even in
a public planning office as well as in the private sector.
Jones and Solnit say it is even more restrictive today than
it was 20 years ago. The restrictive budgets today definitely have an affect on the work environment in public planning agencies. It generally creates more work and pressure because of the decreasing number of employees through the years.
Pressure in the private sector, though, is usually created by competition. Contrariwise, in my past experience as a public planner, I find that in order to improve the work environment, it is wise to usually keep a low profile during budget cut considerations. If elected officials or administrators view a planner as non-productive or as someone who creates problems or who is unable to solve problems, then the planners position will be terminated. The best approach is to keep a low profile and maintain a cooperative attitude.
Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard in their book, "Management
of Organizational Behavior" also state, "the work environment
consists of organizational development, scheduling and job
demands. Each of these characteristics consists of and
involves working with leaders, followers, associates and
superiors. Each of these environmental factors can be
viewed as having two main components: personality style and
The environmental variables, as mentioned above, are the same in both private and public sector agencies. The private sector has to meet deadlines in accordance with their clienteles needs. The public sector, however, has to meet deadlines in accordance to work related demands and public hearing dates.
Working with Others
Team players in the public sector are more highly prized,
according to Jones and Solnit. Planners in public planning
agencies must go along with rules, policies and decisions the
planner may not totally agree with. The planner must learn to adapt and live with other peoples opinions; otherwise he or she may be considered an uncooperative individual.
I have found that another consideration in working with others, and especially immediate supervisors, is for the public planner to keep the enemy out of the superiors realm. If problems are continually referred to supervisors or superiors, they will view the planner as one who cannot solve problems or be able to reach some sort of compromise. This approach, however, depends on how much autonomy is given an individual planner managing work assignments in a public agency.
Differences in talent and personality in the public sector must also be considered when work assignments are assigned to certain planners. Some may have the talent and personality to best run a neighborhood meeting, some may have better ability to do research and analyze data, and some may have more talent to do graphics or drafting work. I believe if planners are placed in a position of which they do not feel comfortable with the talents given them, then their personality may reflect more of a defensive and agressive style. The pressure of a job situation should match what a persons personality is capable of handling.
Paul Hersey and John Stinson in their book, "Perspectives in Leader Effectiveness," states that, "When stress is high, some people may become more efficient while others may fall
apart. Some even become bored and disinterested in what they
are doing when stress is low. Others even can concentrate
better when they are in complete control of a situation and
can predict exactly what is going to happen. In general,
when people have uncertainty about the future, they do feel
anxious and under stress. People act quite differently when
they are relaxed and secure from when they are anxious and 19
tense." Stress will be further discussed in chapter
Overall, working with others in a public or private planning
office involves a certain amount of managerial skills.
"Mangement of these situations works best when it involves
collaboration," as Alan Loy McGinnis states in his book,
"Bringing Out the Best in People."
INTERRELATION OF PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
Since some general background information has been given about public planning functions, it should show that
managerial skills are a necessity in public planning. This chapter is intended to define the interrelation of planning and management, define common characteristics, understand the relationship of planning and management and most importantly to define interrelated skills which are necessary in public planning agencies.
Definition of Planning
Planning is a before-hand term. The American College
dictionary defines planning as preparing a scheme for action
or procedure. Donald Crane and William Jones in their book,
"The Public Managers Guide," state that "planning is
concerned with the development of objectives and accompanying
programs. Planning is future oriented in that one decides in
advance what is to be done, how and when it is to be
accomplished and who is responsible."
More specifically related to the public sector, "planning
deals with ways of guiding or controlling the use and
development of land in such a way that the maximum social and
economic benefits may accrue to the people of the community
being planned, through the improvement of the physical
environment," according to Mary McLean in her book on "Local
Planning Administration." She states that, "Planning also is
an endeavor to guide developments so as to solve the pressing
problems around them and approximate the vision of the future
which they hold. The purpose of planning is to prepare plans
which set guidelines for future action and involves the the
careful elaboration and integration of a series of projected
actions to attain certain goals."
In summary, Mary McLean says, "planning is the opposite of
improvising. It is organized foresight plus corrective
Definition of Management
According to the American College dictionary once again, management tends to handle, direct or control immediate situations. According to Jones and Solnit, this requires a certain amount of managerial skills which involve management principles, time management, how to cope with difficult
people, oral presentations and speaking in public, creative
problem solving techniques, executive effectiveness,
organizational development and design, making the transition
to a supervisory nature and learning how to delegate
authority and work.
Crane and Jones believe that management in the public sector more specifically involves initiating policy ideas for public officials, planning and organizing to guide the agency to the desired results, and having plans implemented to follow specific objectives. It also involves managing personnel. This particular area is really the key to the managers success. The effectiveness of people within the organization is the most important part of public management.
Public management also involves managing labor relations
which involves negotiating skills as well as managing
finances which is complicated by the political process. In
addition, Crane and Jones believe public management includes
controlling and evaluating which involves goal setting and
program results. Lastly, a public manager must maintain his
or her profession through preparation, self development,
psychological commitment and through continued enhancement of
personal qualities and skills.
In summary, Hersey and Blanchard have stated, "management is
working with and through individuals and groups to accomplish
Common Characteristics between Planning and Management in the Public Sector
This particular section in this chapter will discuss some common characteristics between planning and management. These characteristics include primary goals and trends, implementation of personal beliefs and values, implementation of public organizational objectives, planners views of managers and managers views of planners.
Primary Goals and Trends
According to David Slater in his book, "Management of Local
Planning," a primary goal for both public sector planning and
management is to improve the quality of public policy
outcomes and the delivery of services. Slater continues by
stating, "Trends in management, as well as planning, still
relied on today include the rational theories of
organization, humanistic or human relations management and
the general integration of management in the work place."
Other items of discussion in this subsection
educational differences between public sector planning and management, common objectives for planning and management, management techniques related to past studies, solutions to balancing the needs of a public organization, and suggestions on how to improve both planning and management in the public sector.
In most schools, Slater believes both planning and public
administration programs teach theory, methods, techniques
and skills. Both programs generally draw from the same
fields such as math, communication, sociology, management-,
engineering and law. The difference is that many institutions
of higher education with both planning and management
programs do not require students in one field to take courses
in the other. The argument here is that planners
especially need to learn some management techniques related to communication and people skills, especially if they plan to serve in the public sector.
Managerial people skills related to past studies are quite interesting, but have not significantly changed since the studies and theories were done. One of the studies, as noted in David Slaters book on "Management of Local Planning," was Taylors theory of shop management. This theory focuses on
factors such as the analysis of work, standardization of the
purchase and storage of materials, job analysis, time study,
matching the employee to the job, job training and incentive
pay. It is my feeling that many of theses techniques are
used in large private companies but are seldom used in public agencies.
Other management techniques related to personnel management
are those which were derived from the Hawthorne studies.
David Slaters book shows that this study examined factors
such as light, temperature and noise within a work
environment. It also examined rest periods, refreshments,
hours and days of work. The conclusion reached is that
productivity is governed by environmental considerations and
group factors which influence human behavior.
The primary study which had a major influence on management
within an organization was Abraham Maslows Hierarchy of
Needs. Hersey and Blanchard in their book on "Management of
Organizational Behavior," notes that the study indicates that
there are five prioritized needs for every individual. These
are physiological, safety/security, social/affiliation,
esteem/recognition and self actualization.
I believe solutions in balancing the needs of a public
organization, or of any organization, essentially entails satisfying the needs of the people within the organization.
It is continuously important to understand that people are the key to the success of an organization. People make up an organization, run it and implement objectives of the
organization. Therefore, it is necessary to insure that the
peoples needs are being satisfied. This is generally one of the first steps in managing an organization.
The first need of individuals is physiological. When working
for an organization, people usually get paid. Hersey and
Blanchard state that, "It is what money can buy, not money
itself that can satisfy ones physiological needs. It is
important to realize that money can also be used to satisfy
other needs. Money, however, is a less appropriate means to
satisfy esteem, self actualization and motivational needs.
The security motive for people within an organization is satisfied by health, accident, life insurance and retirement plans. This, however, does not make people more productive. On the contrary, it is commonly understood that an
overemphasis on security needs makes employees less creative with less initiative.
Some people, though, tend to think that the world seems
uncertain and uncontrollable, according to Hersey and
Blanchard. Such people may not feel they are competent
enough to be able to influence their environment. They are
also very likeable, not very competitive, and do not like
putting people on the defensive. Others tend to expect
little of the employee and are thus seldom critical of his
work. Combined with the fact that the employee is pleasant
to have around often enables the employee to obtain a secure,
non-threatening position in an organization.
As far as the social needs of people in an organization, it
was found that when people are excited, confused or unhappy,
they do not just seek out anyone, they tend to want to be
with others in the same condition. According to a publication
titled, "Facilitating Community Input," from the University
of Colorado Graduate School of Public Affairs, lower
productivity is sometimes a result of these informal groups,
especially for those environments where work is routine,
tedious and oversimplified. In conclusion, the groups goal
must be consistent with the organizations goals to maintain
According to the publication "Facilitating Community Input," there are two motives related to the esteem need in
individuals: prestige and power. Prestige is basically a
material symbol of status or personal achievement. It
usually appears in young people not satisfied with their
status in life. Power is the ability to induce or influence
behavior. It essentially means the ability to manipulate or
control the activities of other people to suit ones own
purposes. There are also two kinds of power: personal and
positional. Planners and managers alike in public sector
organizations can have the esteem need satisfied the most out of all other needs from Abraham Maslows hierarchy. These esteem needs can be satisfied through money incentives and recognition.
Motives that relate to self actualization are satisfactory competence and achievement levels. Competence is the desire for job mastery and professional growth. It implies control over environmental factors both physical and social. People with low competence feelings will not often be motivated to take risks or seek new challenges, according to the publication, "Facilitating Community Input."
The publication continues to state that, "Achievement relates to a person more concerned with personal achievement than the rewards of success. Money is only important as a measure of success. These kind of people think about things that can be
done better. In fact, two people may be as bright, but the
other more of an achiever. Also, it is a fact that
achievement can be taught. It should be pointed out, though,
that achievement motivated people in organizations do not
make the best managers or planners for that matter. Their
expectations of others will be to do the same highly task-
oriented work capacity."
One suggestion to improve both planning and management in the
public sector would be to ask, "what do workers want from
their jobs?" According to a study-survey in the publication
"Facilitating Community Input," what workers wanted most
from their jobs was full appreciation for work done, feeling
"in" on things and feeling that others sympathize with their
personal problems. These kind of incentives relate to
affiliation and recognition motives. Supervisors thought
workers wanted good wages, job security, promotions and good
working conditions. Overall, money, fringe benefits and
security to motivate workers is costly for a public
organization and is not as important as affiliation and
recognition. Reasons behind this are that our society has a
built-in guarantee of physiological and safety needs for
large segments of the population.
Slate believes that other steps to improve planning and
management in a public sector agency, which are not
necessarily related to people skills, include: not
surprising elected officials, being prepared for elected
officials, avoiding technical jargon, exploiting the
analytical skills of planners, and programming planning time
and tasks for results.
The emphasis in this subsection was on being an effective
manager or planner in establishing primary goals and
effective managerial techniques in public sector
organizations. The key word is being, which implies growth
process and change. David Slater shows that some trained and
inexperienced planners and managers have started out with
technical assignments, but have quickly learned that it is
the managerial as well as the political environment that
helps or hinders implementation in a public organization. Once again, this tends to prove that managerial skills related to communication and human relations is necessary in a public urban planning office.
Implementation of Personal Beliefs and Values
This area is intended to show some difference of opinion and approach in achieving a public organizations needs between planning and management. Before proceeding much further on
into the text it is somewhat important to understand some of the differences in thinking between planning and management.
David Slater believes that planners usually stress long range
goals, social equity, design and aesthetics, and analytical
processes. It is not easy, though, for planners to change or
augment their beliefs and values when their professional
backgrounds stress long range goals, social equity, design
and et cetera. Management, on the other hand, is concerned
with work programs that are short range, immediate, action-
oriented and results oriented.
"Most planners believe that planning can improve the quality
of life," says Slater. "They believe that by working on
physical, social and economic problems they will contribute
to resolve them." Slater continues by stating, "Planners
also try to strike a balance between what elected officials
think the community wants and what the planner thinks the
community ought to have."
Another belief of planners is that bottom-up identification of issues is the best way. In other words, Slater believes that managers and elected officials should seek the advice of planners and staff before setting policies, objectives and
implementing certain issues. Public administrators and
managers, though, believe that top-down facilitation is the
primary means of achieving organizational objectives. In
fact, this is probably the most efficient way of
implementation. Public administrators and managers secondly
believe that the budget should be the guiding light in making
and executing public policy.
David Slater also states in his book on "Management of Local
Planning" that, "the amount of time managers spend in
planning and promoting the communitys future is often less
than they would like to devote to this activity because of
what elected officials may demand and what they expect.
Managers in the past have had a hard time convincing elected
officials that they can make the best use of their time in
planning. Another factor is the managers training and
interest in planning. These managers can take special pride
in applying planning methods to their management of community
affairs." Overall, Slater believes a method for improving
planning and management is in the management of personnel and
Implementation of Public Organizational Objectives
Implementing organizational objectives involves an
understanding of the roles of public planners and managers, the problems and solutions in public sector planning and management, and the ways to pursue public agency goals.
According to David Slater, the roles of the public planner include: 1) preparing a land use plan, 2) overseeing the
development permission process and ordinances, 3) preparing capital improvement programs, and revenue and expenditure forecasts for the budget, and 4) serving as policy advisors for appointed and elected officials.
In the first two roles, the planner is constrained by the
classical definition of physical planning. In other words,
these roles are essentially technical in nature. The last
two roles, the planners work blends technical,
administrative and political skills. These roles, however,
must be earned and not just given to a planner. They are
earned by demonstrating political competence and earning the
confidence of elected and appointed officials responsible for
development decisions. Again, this shows the importance of developing managerial skills in communication and human relations, especially if a planner wants to advance in his or her career.
Slater says that the three main functions of the public
manager, as related to planning, include: 1) maintaining
the goal setting process, 2) preparing and monitoring the
operating and capital budgets, and 3) monitoring and
evaluating citizen participation.
In my experience, one of the problems planners have in the
public sector is that they have little authority over
spending decisions. Their role remains one of competing in
the arena of ideas and convincing others to go along with
their ideas. "Another factor is that planning depends on
information drawn from a wide variety of sources," says
Slater. "The problem is getting agencies to forward
information and respond to requests in a timely fashion.
Without the information submitted in a timely manner,
planners are forced to make unsubstantiated
recommendations." Another problem I have found, which is somewhat related, is trying to get other agencies to communicate more effectively with each other and getting them to willingly cooperate.
In finding solutions to these problems, Slater believes public managers should try to "pry loose" information needed from other agencies (that is if they understand why the
information is needed in a timely fashion or why cooperation is necessary). Slater has found that one of the changing
signs in solving community or organizational problems has
been to locate community development and planning into the
office of the local or county manager. I believe this may also be a more effective way to implement public agency objectives.
Donald Crane and William Jones in their book, "The Public
Managers Guide," notes that ways a public organization can
pursue goals is to: 1) act to inform private persons who may
or may not take appropriate action, 2) provide financial
assistance to influence private action, 3) regulate the
behavior of private organizations, 4) financially support
another public agency at a different level, and 5) create an
agency to pursue goals.
Planners Views of Managers
Viewing past experiences of managers trying to implement
organization and community objectives has given planners five
general opinions of managers in the public sector, according
to Slater. The first is that planners believe managers
should bring a longer-range perspective to their work by
spending more time analyzing the possible outcomes of their 52
Another opinion of planners is that managers still often
equate planning with zoning. Planners argue that urban
design, land use and development are not the only interests
of planning. Planners also think managers are unwilling to
share allocation of resources, that managers spend far too
little time in anticipating problems and selecting strategies
to solve them, and finally, that managers are to willing to
compromise in order to get something achieved.
Managers Views of Planners
Past experience has shown managers that planners often present information that is convoluted and obtuse. Slater says planners are too verbose and methodologically mysterious. Managers think planners use too many words to describe issues, analyses and recommendations. Many things that are written or said is unclear, especially analytical methods.
According to David Slater, managers also think planners are too theoretical to be of any practicable use. Much of planners written and oral communication is inapplicable in many cases. Analysis of issues must include a full list of political issues in order to serve the needs of the elected officials. Recommendations are usually not delivered on a
timely basis, and are usually based on outdated material.
Managers claim that planners should spend less time
collecting information and analyzing it and more time
preparing written material and recommendations on a timely
Planners too are thought of as having attitudes that are
insensitive to the views and wishes of others, according to
Slater. In fact, they are known to be hostile toward
developers and applicants during a development permission
process. Reasons for this hostility and insensitivity may be
budget cutbacks and pressures to complete too much work
within tight deadlines.
Lastly, Slater finds that managers feel planners are just too
dogmatic. Planners usually have a strong zeal to advocate
their sometimes arrogant and distinctive views on problems.
Managers want to be more sensitive to compromise and
workable on a settlement. Managers associate this technique
with the win-win situation. Managers argue that without
adequate thought to compromise on development standards and
principles, it may mean the difference between project
implementation and the loss of the project to another
Overall, managers believe planners should spend more time managing their responsibilities more effectively. This summary statement of all public managers opinions in effect supports the idea that planners must have managerial skills in order to be effective in a public urban planning agency.
Understanding the Relationship of Planning and Management
It is difficult to understand the relationship planning and management, but some of the past information presented should help one understand this relationship. The most important issue to understand is that management skills must be used synonymously with planning in public planning agencies. The reverse, though, could also be argued.
David Slater believes that one of the tools which could be used in order to blend planning and management is strategic planning. This is a good tool because strategic planning involves several management skills and processes. More specifically, strategic planning includes setting and
establishing objectives, policies, goals, standards and
procedures, planning a strategy, developing a government philosophy (i.e., beliefs, values, attitudes and guidelines),
planning the organizational structure, providing personnel,
facilities and capital, establishing management programs and
operational plans, providing control of information, and
finally activating people (i.e., commanding and motivating 57
people). I believe the last skill and process is in
essence the most important.
Strategic planning, according to Slater, is defined in five
steps: 1) indentifying and forecasting pertinent factors, 2)
evaluating the communities resources, 3) setting objectives,
4) formulating strategies to achieve objectives, and 5)
The benefits of strategic planning, according to Slater, are
that it offers a form of measurement to determine the
performance level of the entire organization as well as the
different departments within the organization. Secondly,
strategic planning is a great tool to improve the channels of
communication. It is a means by which people throughout an
organization can converse on a common basis about problems
which are of central importance.
When considering strategic planning, some of its guidelines also have to be considered. Guidelines of strategic planning include the idea that a planner or manager should always plan
big, and that the oversimplification of plans means trouble. Plans also require change based on credible feedback. Another important item to realize when making plans is that a plan has a life cycle just like any product. A plan will later need to have a new improved version.
Another guideline to consider is that strategic plannings biggest resource is people. People, time, money and information have to be considered when implementing strategic planning. The most important asset, though, are the people within an organization. Without their support, strategic plannings management and planning processes cannot even be implemented if even established.
Strategic planning also affects planners. Its guidelines suggest that planners must be process oriented and methodical. Planners must have the ability to organize as well as have the ability to apply knowledge, discipline and talents. Strategic planning requires planners to use common sense and understanding, probably more than knowledge gained from education. Strategic planning also suggests that planners re-observe and critique their plans once completed. Finally, strategic planning suggests that planners be good listeners as well as good dream sellers.
Defining Interrelated Skills
I have found that there are certain functions that planners do every day that tend to enhance some managerial related skills. One of the functions is communication. A public planner job is a high people contact job. Communicating and discussing issues with insiders and outsiders gives the planner good experience and actually improves the
communication skills of the planner through daily experience.
Another function is that of receiving information from other
departments within an organization, according to Slater.
This enables the planner to make better decisions and
recommendations. This information itself effects another
function which is presenting quality and updated information
and recommendations for decision makers. Other functions
include negotiating skills, citizen participation and
Skills can be enhanced by certain functions, but there are categories of skills which are necessary for more responsible jobs (Certainly, public planner jobs are one of the most responsible jobs in the public sector). Jones and Solnit note that these categories of skills are job and professional related skills, social-personal skills, communication skills,
work programming skills, general management skills, and
stylistic skills. These skills will be further discussed in detail in chapters seven and eight.
Overall, Jones and Solnit believe planners must not avoid
individual responsibility. A "we" and "they" attitude is
fatal to doing a proper job. Planners also should not
rationalize a forced consensus, smooth over debate and should
not hesitate to speak critically.
Determination of the most important managerial skills for planners in the public sector
It should be fairly evident by now that the main argument in
this text that the most important managerial skills for
public planners to have are people related skills and
communication skills. People skills are probably the most
important of the two. Even David Slater states, "Past city
and county managers have indicated that the principle
problems of planners lie in the areas of communication and
Alan Loy McGinnis in his book, "Bringing Out the Best in
People," states, "There seems to be a great need in this
highly technical society for managers and planners with
people skills." People in these positions, especially in the
public sector, have to know how to eliminate friction in the
office and inspire excellence among their staff. To do
this, though, involves both communication and interpersonal relations skills.
To prove this need, the professional life of a planner or
even a manager is shorter now than it has ever been. David
Slater says, "This is because academic courses cannot keep up
with all of the changes on the job and because planning
schools do not offer courses on how to manage planning
offices." Apparently, this is one of the first barriers and
stumbling blocks for first time planners. I even believe planning schools and academic courses must teach planners managerial skills related to communication and people skills.
ESSENTIAL SKILLS OF PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
Communication and interpersonal relations are the most important skills for planners and managers in the public sector. This chapter will define communication and interpersonal relations as well as evaluate the techniques of each skill. The intention is to further evaluate each skill and its functions in detail. The functional skills of communication and interpersonal relations will be further developed in chapters seven and eight.
Definition of Communication
According the the American College dictionary, communication
means to import or interchange thoughts, opinions or
information by speech, writing or signs. Other definitions,
according to Slater, indicate that communication is a social
affair. It means to share. It also means that the modern
world depends more on technical means of communication such
as the telephone, personal computers, et cetera.
Definition of Interpersonal Relations
Interpersonal relations means in effect an ability to get
along with people. According to a report by the American
Management Association, an overwhelming majority of the 200
managers who participated in the survey agreed that the most
important single skill of a manager is his or her ability to
get along with people. The same holds true for planners in
public service. In this survey, management rated this
ability more vital than intelligence, decisiveness, knowledge
or related job skills.
Even the Hawthorne studies performed by Elton Mayo indicated
that the most important or significant factor affecting
organizational productivity was found to be the interpersonal
relationships that are developed on the job, not just pay and
working conditions. According to Alan Loy McGinnis, the
basic courtesy in all human relations is taking the time to
thank and recognize people who help out.
Evaluation of the Techniques of Communication in Public Sector Urban Planning
There are certain recommendations for communication in public planning. The first of which, in my experience, is to
simplify planning related issues for people. The suggestion here is to talk in common language and clearly explain the facts. A second recommendation is to inform people about the political process. Most people are unfamiliar with the local government process and it should be explained if someone seems to have many questions.
An informal network of communication is recommended at times even more so than relying on technical background information. I believe it is always good to seek advice and opinions from other staff members as well. Another technique of this informal communication network is to spend more time outside the office gathering essential information from other staff members.
David Slater states, "The overall goal is to make
communications clear and understandable. When making
recommendations and writing reports to appointed and elected
officials, planners and managers should write as if they were
making the decision." This leads into another area; planners
and managers should not be afraid to make recommendations.
Finally, the important aspect of recommendations is to make
Other helpful hints are to never give informational
surprises and to never intimidate new officials by inundating them with reports and memos, according to Slater. Since reports are one of the frequent functions of planners and managers, some advice should be given on how to write them. First of all, a report is simply to record or present an item or issue with conclusions and recommendations. Slater says reports should be written with three objectives in mind: 1) objectives, 2) audience, and 3) components. The most important thing is to never forget the audience. A report
should have clear discussions of interrelatedness and it
should also transition paragraphs from one idea or item to
the next. A report written in this fashion will probably not 71
lose the audience.
In conclusion, a planner should develop communication techniques to be more effective when working with various people in public sector planning. Otherwise, the image of the planners competence will be undermined if he or she is thought of as a communications stumbler.
Evaluation of the Techniques of Interpersonal Relations in Public Sector Urban Planning
In her book titled, "Local Planning Administration," Mary McLean states that, "to be effective in a coordinating role,
the planning personnel must call on professional skills,
administrative skills and above all skills in personal
relationships." There are three general techniques to be
used when developing interpersonal relations. The first is motivation psychology, the second is expecting commitment to excellence and the third is team cooperation.
This area will discuss topics which address how motivators are made, how the planner and manager can be a psychologist and how people like to be treated on the job. These are all suggestions which can increase productivity and improve implementation of objectives in a public planning office.
Alan Loy McGinnis states in his book, "Bringing Out the Best
in People," "Motivators are self made. They do not inherit
a certain talent or character trait. Motivators were
probably motivated by the right kind of leader in their past.
These leaders are people who breathe hope and galvanize
peoples wills." In most cases too, the leader-motivator
finds goals which are good for both sides.
To apply these motivational techniques in the public sector, a planner or managers success is much less dependent on hard
work and knowledge than it is on the ability to lead people.
To accomplish big things in the public sector will require
the art of inspiring others. Even for individual success,
human relations is important. As noted in McGinnis book, a
study was done which indicated that executive type positions
require 80 percent human relations skills and 20 percent
technical knowledge as compared to the rank and file workers
whose positions only require 10 percent human relations
skills and 90 percent technical knowledge. This proves,
according to McGinnis, that motivators will make it to the
top before a proven genius will.
The right leader-motivator also knows how people like to be
treated on the job. McGinnis says, "A motivator will allow
some room for conflict among workers. They do not panic and
instead expect it and are prepared for it. In fact, this
will help people to better cooperate with each other. A
leader-motivator also uses tone of voice, facial expressions,
touch and posture toward people on the job to change their
perceptions of themselves.
People who work on stressful, frustrating or dissatisfying tasks also like to have the support of a leader. This kind
of supportive leadership has the most positive affect on these peoples satisfaction, according to Hersey and Stinson
in their book, "Perspectives in Leader Effectiveness."
Participation of employees in goal setting and the decision
making process is another technique of the leader-motivator.
Hersey and Stinson say participation actually increases the
correspondence between the organization and the subordinates
and makes subordinates more ego involved. It increases the
control the subordinate has over what happens on the job.
Also, the subordinates peers know what is expected and the
social pressure has a greater impact. Therefore, motivation
to perform well stems from internal and social factors as
well as from formal, external ones.
In conclusion, if greater autonomy and ability is given to subordinates performing tasks, motivation will be greater in carrying out organizational objectives. This should lead to increased effort and performance among the employees in a public sector planning agency. Other motivational techniques will be further discussed in chapter eight.
Expecting Commitment to Excellence
This subsection will deal with expecting commitment to excellence from employees. Areas discussed will be expecting the best from people, enforcing high standards of excellence, creating challenges and using negative as well as positive reinforcement.
As the title of this subsection implies, planners and
managers in public agencies should expect the best from the
people they lead. Attitude is everything. Abraham Maslow
even studied this area with his theories on "the higher
ceilings of human nature." He concluded that people have
much greater potential than we give them credit for.
McGinnis believes a police type of a leader who is constantly
watching employees, will find that people get defensive and
self protective. Management of personnel done this way will
close the opportunities for inner potential. McGinnis says,
"Focusing on peoples weaknesses will put them in touch with
their faults and their behavior will become worse. Focusing
on a positive attitude and concentrating on the strong
aspects of an employee will put them in contact with their
good attributes and their behavior will become better. This is all a matter of behavior modification.
Another way to get the best out of people is to first ask
them to do a small commitment, according to McGinnis. Later
on, a leader can ask for increasingly extreme actions in the
name of consistency. This is referred to as the "consistency
principle." The caution here is that leader must allow space
in relationships between themself and the subordinate.
People should be allowed to change their minds.
In expecting commitment to excellence and the best out of
people, McGinnis says that most highly motivated leaders are
extremely tough on standards of excellence. These particular
leaders will produce more secure and stable employees.
Employees may complain, but they will become more 80
In order to enforce high standards of excellence, it will
require planners and managers to tell people in a public
organization when they do not meet those standards. A sign
of a weak manager, or even a weak planner, is the fear of
telling people in a public organization when they have erred.
McGinnis gives suggestions for handing out reprimand: 1) do
it immediately, 2) to be sure the facts and information are
straight and correct, 3) be specific in what is wrong, 4)
criticize the behavior not the motives, and 5) show how you 81
To manage and motivate people within an organization requires at times to correct their mistakes. This also ensures a high standard of excellence and discourages incompetence. To be an inspiring leader a planner or manager does not have to be the smartest or the hardest working, according to McGinnis. It does, however, require a firmness in dedication to excellence. Even if it makes a planner or manager
temporarily unpopular, employee commitment will still
improve. Many management and psychology books have stated
that, "leadership in organizations does not mean winning
Along with expecting the best from people and enforcing high
standards of excellence, a leader can also create challenges.
McGinnis believes most people are inspired by challenges.
McGinnis says, "This kind of leadership is the most
compelling and most successful because people usually long
for a cause." In fact, achievement-oriented leadership
will cause subordinates to strive for higher standards of
performance and to have more confidence in their ability to
meet challenging goals, according to Hersey and Stinson.
Leisure, on the other hand, actually has little to do with
ones happiness. McGinnis says in his book, "Bringing Out
the Best in People," states, "The happiest people have found
a cause and are motivated by a commitment." Urban planning
and management itself is a great commitment. McGinnis
believes that most people are bored without a commitment and
Yet another way of bringing out the best in people, expecting commitment to excellence, and enforcing high
standards, (besides creating challenges), is by using
positive and negative reinforcement. McGinnis says, "A
mixture of positive and negative reinforcement is usually a
good way to motivate people." An example of negative
reinforcement would be the use of fear to bring out the best
There are four general techniques used when employing the use
of negative reinforcement, according to McGinnis. The first
is that the leader must be certain that he or she is teaching
employees to avoid certain behavior, not to avoid the leader.
Employees must be taught to fear the consequences and not the
leader. Second, the undesired behavior must be followed by
immediate correction; otherwise it will be ineffective.
Third, a way should be established to stop the negative
stimulus once the undesired behavior stops (i.e., loss of
privileges). Fourth, if negative stimulus control does not
seem to be working, try shaping the absence of the undesired
behavior (i.e., give positive reinforcement to anything other
than the undesired behavior).
Another source of negative reinforcement is the use of guilt. McGinnis believes guilt is a valid emotion to motivate people. It is used most common by the statement, "You should..." This is a legitimate guilt motivator. The "I
can..." statement is ideal, but is really not very realistic,
says McGinnis. It should be pointed out, though, that too
much guilt can result in neurotic guilt. Neurotic guilt is
guilt that lingers long after corrective measures have been
taken. It is crippling rather than constructive. Overall,
McGinnis emphasizes that guilt motivation is often too easy
to use and should be used with constraint.
In conclusion, McGinnis believes praising and positive
reinforcement should far outweigh negative reinforcement when
expecting commitment to excellence. He says, "Good leaders
generally encourage people to hold each other accountable for
excellence. The goal here is to establish a group wide
appreciation for excellence, then let the group maintain
Team cooperation is another aspect of interpersonal
delations. Team cooperation involves managing and allowing room for conflict, establishing high group morale, and establishing a team spirit.
McGinnis says, "A manager-leader should always allow room for some conflict in a group. The leader should not get upset
and feel as if everything is out of control. Instead, the
leader should expect it and plan for conflict. Managing
conflict and how to get people in groups to cooperate with a
minimum amount of problems is the key." Once this is
established it should remain consistent. In every group
consistency is valued and inconsistency is deplored,
according to McGinnis.
The leader too who can understand the concepts of group
morale will become a highly valuable commodity. McGinnis
believes this is considered another technique for team
cooperation. People in organizations are not usually drawn
to the leader but to a group feeling. People like to
experience a high energy level in a group. In fact, McGinnis
finds it necessary to build into an organization an
allegiance to each other. This is because most people can
function best when teamed with at least one other person. Even in society today people enjoy belonging to some group of personable people where they are known and accepted.
McGinnis describes five techniques a manager-leader can use to build up group morale. The first is that good leaders encourage people to hold each other accountable for excellence. The second characteristic for establishing a high group morale is that each member believes that the
leaders are putting the groups welfare first. A key ingredient related to this characteristic is that the leader should not make too many promises. Nothing demoralizes a group more quickly.
A third technique to high group morale is to distribute rewards fairly and evenly. When distributing rewards productivity should be kept in mind. The leader must not take the "nice guy" approach to management. If a leader bends the rules for certain people and distributes rewards unfairly, it will cause confusion among staff and a drop in morale and productivity. It will appear that the leader is only concerned for the welfare of a few rather than the well being of the whole group.
The fourth technique for high group morale is to help people feel they are a part of the group. A leader must respect peoples individuality. It is all a matter of accepting an individual and listening and respecting their ideas and opinions. The key is to help people share with each other.
The last technique of high group morale is that high morale groups have fun together. In fact, the best kind of work gets done while having fun. The main idea here is that good business should be done in a good humored frame of mind and
on a human scale basis. People in society never get to laugh
or have fun as much as they would like. Therefore, if a
leader can infuse fun and laughter into a group, then the
leader will have people wanting to join the group.
The last aspect of team cooperation is establishing a team spirit. McGinnis says there are four techniques to enhance team spirit. The first is to reward cooperative people. This will encourage others in a public organization to be cooperative as well. The second technique is to assign responsibility for group morale to the group itself and not to the leader. Peer pressure is better for accountability. The third technique is to plan occasions where people can get away from ordinary surroundings. They will learn to be more creative, better collaborators, more cooperative and more open to new ideas.
The last technique used to enhance team spirit is the most
important: communication. The leader should make sure there
are plenty of opportunities to discuss things in an
organization. Organizations will fracture when information
is dispensed through the grapevine, because the grapevine is
discriminatory. It is discriminatory because certain people
will know and others will not. People in an organization who
do not know about valued information will certainly be
The techniques behind communication and interpersonal relations was intended to describe the importance and the relatedness of these skills in public sector urban planning. Managers and planners alike should develop these skills to become more effective in implementing organizational objectives.
Also, to be a public planner or manager involves a certain amount of cooperation. Planners using these managerial skills say to people that they are willing to cooperate. If all public personnel develop these managerial skills, cities and counties will begin to see better progress, and people in the community will view planning as more effective.
CONTENDING WITH JUDGMENTAL VIEWS
Contending with judgmental views within a public organization is one reason why managerial skills in communication and human relations is important for planners. There are four areas which fall under this topic. There are the areas of living with public opinion, working with co-workers, working with outsiders, and managing and coordinating a public planning agency both internally and externally.
Living with Public Opinion
Living with public opinion is definitely a function most
planners have to confront. According to Jones and Solnit,
planners sometimes have to justify their jobs to skeptical
elected officials who tend to reflect disgruntled taxpayers 95
views. Jones and Solnit note that planners also have to
deal with the following generalizations: 1) Government
agencies are too inefficient, 2) government services and goods are not subject to the same standards as private enterprises, 3) government agencies are resistant to change that would make it more efficient, 4) there is too much
control over people and free enterprise, and 5) the public
is turned off by politics and government, and planners will
have to work harder for more public participation. At any time during the career of a planner, he or she may be asked to respond to these sorts of questions and statements. It will, however, take a certain amount of communication and people related skills to respond appropriately and diplomatically to these generalizations.
Working with Co-workers
Another area of dealing with judgmental views is in the area
of working with co-workers, according to Paul Hersey and
Kenneth Blanchard in their book, "Management of
Organizational Behavior." Co-workers will judge planners,
especially those that just enter the field, on how well they
perform. There are usually hidden guidelines. More
experienced planners can definitely have an influence over
younger planners in advising them on the way they should act
in the office environment. The planner, though, who has
little interest in promotion and has more interest in the
expectations of peers, will not be influenced much by
superiors or more experienced planners.
The AICP code of ethics, however, does state some guidelines
for planners who work extensively with co-workers. The first
is that planners must accurately represent the
qualifications, views and findings of other colleagues.
Second, is that planners must share the results of experience
and research which contribute to the body of planning
Working with Outsiders
Working with outsiders is probably the most important group
of individuals planners must carefully respond to when
confronted with judgmental views. According to the AICP code
of ethics, a planner should simply respect the rights of
others. In the case of working with outsiders, such as citizen groups, I believe it is important for the planner to show consistent sensitivity and fairness. The key to this sensitivity and fairness is the art of listening. Another key ingredient is that of not arguing too much with people even though some of their comments may be irrational. The planner should simply respond with facts and valid views of his or her own. Overall, in my experience, the planner should maintain a neutral role, listen for the most part, avoid argumentation, and stick to the facts.
It is also advisable for the planner to maintain a neutral
role when relating community goals with agency goals. Sometimes there may be a contradiction. In this case, the planner must state specific reasons for a particular agency goal. But in most cases, community goals are valid and are usually related to a nebulous policy statement from the public agency.
Managing and Coordinating a Public Planning Agency Internally and Externally
Managing and coordinating a public planning agency both internally and externally can also create a certain amount of complaints from people. The planning director, especially, is usually faced with this dilemma when making difficult decisions. In this case, I believe an internal hierarchical structure is more efficient in most situations because the director does not have to feel compelled to consult other staff members. A horizontal organizational structure in a planning office would be more desirable for the subordinates (because they would feel a part of the decision making process), but would be more time consuming and may also create unnecessary paper work.
When working with other staff members outside the planning office, a more horizontal approach is necessary when
negotiating and making decisions, in my opinion. This is because the planning department of a public organization is far from the top of the hierarchical structure. This is important to keep in mind when trying to influence and implement organizational objectives. The trend is that public organizations will continue to have a vertical hierarchical structure. Working with this kind of structure will require communication and people related managerial skills for the public planner.
ROLES OF THE PLANNER AS MANAGER
This chapter describes another area which proves managerial skills are required of planners in public planning offices. A planners functions are in a sense managerial type of
functions. Therefore, it is important for planners to learn managerial related skills. In this chapter, we will discuss some of the roles of the planner in a managerial position as well as determine the most essential roles of the planner as a manager.
Defining the Roles
According to David Slater in his book titled "Management of Local Planning," there are common roles of the planner which are all management related. For instance the planner analyzes data. The planner is an organizer to get
constituency support in the planning process and in
influencing decisions. Planners are brokers to mediate issues and negotiate decisions. They are advocates to assist with information and advice. Planners are often enablers to indirectly lead and guide. They also serve to educate people
about planning and are publicists to make people aware about 100
planning. The roles as described can also describe the
functions of a public administrator or manager.
Overall, the planner as a manager has to be a leader.
According to Alan Loy McGinnis in his book on "Bringing Out
the Best in People," "The best leaders are the ones who are
optimistic and futuristic." Even the term planning itself
tends to describe a futuristic approach. The planner as a
manager has to live the future, dream about the future and
talk about the future. To be an effective leader as a
planner-manager, one must urge people around them to be
optimistic about the future as well.
Determining the Most Essential Roles
According to a 1980 survey of International City Management
Association members, planning and evaluation will have the
greatest influence in the future. Members felt this area
would be more influential than labor relations, policy
recommendation and formulation, budgeting, administration,
personnel policies and local politics. Public and human
relations rank next in importance and influence. Planners fit into this role well and should have the skills to implement such related functions.
Involved in the planning and evaluation role are skills which
are becoming more and more necessary in public planning
agencies. According to David Slater, these skills include
citizen participation skills which are becoming the
foundation of planning programs. Another skill is the
understanding of environmental constraints placed on
development. Environmental considerations are becoming
important to plan preparation. Lastly, real estate financial
skills are becoming more desirable because of common public-
In conclusion, planning and evaluation will become an increasingly important tool for public administrators and managers. Therefore, planners too need to develop managerial skills to effectively implement roles related to planning and evaluation.
LEARNING FROM PAST MISTAKES
Past mistakes in public planning is another reason why-planners in public planning agencies should develop
managerial skills. Two areas to be discussed in this chapter are the reasons for past and current failures of
implementation within a public organization and the misunderstanding of the conception of management techniques within a public organization.
Reasons for Past and Current Failures of Implementation
Reasons for past and current failures of planners
effectiveness in the public sector are that the authority to get a job done does not match the responsibility, the art of inspiring others is lacking and planners are often
discouraged because of failure. If these past trends can be reversed, planners could have more of an influence in formulating and implementing community and organizational objectives and policies.
First of all, a planners authority to get a job done should
match the responsibility to get a job done, according to
Jones and Solnit in their book, "What Do I Do Next." In
other words , if responsibility is shared, so should the
authority and vice versa. In my opinion, planners
commonly have much responsibility to get a job done, but in most cases do not have the authority to implement a job satisfactorily. The trend, however, seems to be changing in some communities. I have found that more and more planning departments are moving into the office of the manager in cities and counties throughout the country or given more authority over other city or county agencies.
Another factor in accomplishing a big job requires the art of
inspiring others. McGinnis states that, "The most effective
leaders in any organization are the ones who spend their time
organizing and motivating people to get a job done." I
believe this is fairly critical in a public organization, because as explained before, people make up the organization and are the key to the success of the organization and are generally responsible for coordinating its functions.
Another big key in accomplishing a big job is that of not becoming too discouraged because of failure to implement something. Peoples wills have to be rekindled and the failure and rejection must be handled creatively. I believe
it is especially important in a public planning agency that an environment be created where failure is not fatal. Planners must cope with their failures and learn from their mistakes like anybody else.
Planners will commonly lose battles with elected and
appointed officials, public administrators, among other staff
members and even among co-workers. If planners can lose a
few battles undaunted, it will probably be more inspiring
than anything else. The strong planner, manager or leader
will fail at times, but they will admit them and learn from
them. According to McGinnis, one of the most critical
motivational contributors a leader (for example a planning
director) can make, is the help they can offer their
followers to come back from rejection. McGinnis says,
"Undaunted endurance is admirable."
Understanding the Conception of Management Techniques in Planning
For planners to be effective in the implementation of projects, one must understand some of the management decision making styles within a public organization. There are three major decision making styles of managers, according to Jones and Solnit. The first is the rational manager style. In
this case the managers decision is based on information and
analysis. The second approach to a management decision
process is the action manager style. The main belief here is
that solutions come from action now. The last decision
making style is the participatory manager style. Decisions
here are made through discussion and inquiry.
Another approach to know in understanding management
techniques in planning are the theory X and theory Y approach
to managing people. These two theories were developed by
Douglas McGregor who was an industrial psychologist. The
theory X approach defines the authoritarian view of
management which assumes that people are morons who need to
be told what to do. Theory Y describes the management
technique which treats people as individuals and respects
their human rights.
The theory X approach to management has a negative view of
human nature. Slater says, "It assumes that people have to
be bribed, coerced or goaded into doing work properly.
Theory Y exhibits a positive view of people. It encompasses
a broader and positive view of motivation, incentives, the
capacity to learn and a willingness to accept
responsibility." I have come to believe that the theory
Y approach when used with appropriate motivational techniques produces the best results from people within an organization.
There is also the theory Z approach to management. Theory Z is basically a horizontal communication approach to managing an organization. There is no hierarchical structure in a true theory Z organization. In reality, though, a theory Z management philosophy would not work efficiently in a public organization, because there would be no one person who would have the ultimate authority in implementing certain required responsibilities. In other words, someone has to make a decision once a project, which included numerous discussions and a variety of participation, has lingered on long enough.
Learning from past and current mistakes relating to having authority match responsibility, to learning the art of inspiring others, to being undaunted by failure, and to understanding management techniques are all examples which can help planners become more effective and influential. The above examples are also management related which shows once again that managerial skills are essential for planners in public planning agencies.
It seems evident that managerial skills, especially communication and interpersonal relations skills, are
required of planners in urban public sector planning offices. The next two chapters will be devoted in describing the necessary managerial attributes for planners in urban public planning offices. These attributes are the functional skills of communication and interpersonal relations.
NECESSARY MANAGERIAL ATTRIBUTES FOR PUBLIC URBAN PLANNERS
Since it has been demonstrated that managerial skills are necessary attributes for planners in public sector urban planning, this chapter will attempt to define in detail some of the most essential managerial traits. Most of these traits functionally relate directly and indirectly to interpersonal relations and communication skills. Five general areas to be discussed in this chapter are confronting realities, developing the necessary social personal skills, enhancing essential communication skills, contributing effective work programming skills, and adopting stylistic skills.
Public urban planning offices are certainly not the most ideal environments to work in. That is why it is important for public servants like planners to have a healthy picture of a real life environment in a public planning office. For one thing planners have to expect to be productive everyday. According to Jones and Solnit in their book, "What Do I Do Next," "Planners have to think on their feet, react
spontaneously and learn to communicate with people who may
not agree with them." The key here is to use common sense.
Also, as previously discussed in chapter one, planners have
to expect to be tested on how much they cost to produce
results and get quality work out. As a result, planners will
be monitored for effectiveness. In these sorts of
situations, it also helps to have some measurable skills.
The most important reality to confront in public planning
offices is that half of a planners time will be spent
learning how to get along with people.
It is quite evident that in order to confront these realities, assistance by use of certain managerial skills becomes a necessity. It will certainly make a difficult office environment more workable and livable. One other situation to realize when serving in a public planning office is for one to know his or her most comfortable role. One may feel more comfortable in a technicians role, another in a more active and creative role, and others even in a politically involved role. Overall, managerial skills are required of everyone serving in public sector urban planning.
Necessary Social Personal Skills
There are six areas to deal with when developing social personal skills. These include dealing with stress, dealing with difficult people, being responsive to other peoples needs, dealing with politicians and political leaders, dealing with supervisors and dealing with friends in the same general field.
Dealing with Stress
Stress as defined in the American College dictionary is a mentally or emotionally disruptive or disquieting influence. To simplify, it means to subject someone to pressure or strain. Planners in the public sector are not immune to stress caused by workload, deadlines and working with various people.
Many public servants are subject to work related pressures and demands, according to Dr. Robert D. Rutherford in his book, "Productivity Under Pressure." These people do not realize that they have great power over everyday pressures and demands, if they choose to use it. Rutherford notes that ways to increase control over demands and pressures are to become better organized, be clear about values and goals,
gain more support from others, relax more, become more
proficient in work functions, and be more alert and less
When confronting these everyday pressures and demands, Rutherford says there are some general rules to be aware of. First of all, pressures have to have permission to exist people can only be pressured with their consent. Second, pressures can be negotiated and do not have to be accepted at face value. Things that can be negotiated are the timing, the frequency and the importance of the particular pressure. Third, people should respect their personal feelings about the pressure and demand placed on them. Fourth, pressure demands are situational due to a persons state of mind, perceptions, timing, environment, reward and penalties, goals and values. A situation, though, should not be as important as the persons attitude toward the situation.
Fifth, Rutherford says, people can use many pressure
controlling factors such as ways of receiving the pressure, rejecting the pressure and revising the pressure. The key here is to be creative. Sixth, people should realize that there is usually a fine line between positive and negative pressure. People usually have different views of certain demands. And lastly, pressure should be viewed in most cases
as being neutral, neither good or bad. To take a positive
approach, pressure can be used for greater personal growth
and productivity, to achieve more, to make a difference, to
make a contribution, to learn from, and to open up new
In most instances, pressures and demands are caused by exorbitant work loads. But there are steps to solve the problem of too much to do as well. According to Dr. Rutherford, there are twelve steps as follows: 1) make a
written inventory of all activities that demand time, 2) identify high priority items that have to be done soon, then block out the necessary time to do it, 3) establish the acceptable level of performance for each high priority task ask the question, "how good does good have to be?" 4) determine which tasks others can do, 5) be creative in delegating jobs, 6) simplify work functions can a step be reduced or eliminated, 7) look for ways to accomplish objectives at one time, 8) ask for favors from co-workers who have also been helped in the past, 9) identify those tasks which must be done immediately and how much time and how well must they be done to reduce the high priority of the item, 10) avoid the trap of diminishing returns there must be a limit on the amount of time spent on tasks, 11) some tasks can probably be eliminated of which nobody would
follow-up on, and 12) when it is evident that a project
cannot be completed on time, ask for help.
Besides finding ways of reducing pressures and demands which
create stress, people should also realize that there are
positive affects of stress. According to Robert D.
Rutherford, "stress can motivate, encourage, and support us
to achieve excellence and to create a sense of well being.
It can break procrastination and get us to do what we should
be doing. It can add spice and vitality to our living,
giving us incentives to achieve worthwhile and satisfying
goals. Stress can be the necessary ingredient to get us to
go after more of what we want for ourselves and others
important to us. Positive pressure can actually reduce
stress and distress. It can empower our daily living and
provide the necessary positive momentum to make the
difference between excelling and just getting by." This
can apply to any office situation, public or private.
Positive or negative stress in the work place can also have a spillover effect in ones private life. According to C.
Brooklyn Derr in her book, "Work, Family and the Career," stress created by work and career include worry, anxiety, tension, problems, concerns and preoccupations. Stress has the most damaging effect on private life even more so than
working at home, working long evenings at the office or
traveling away from home often. In fact, Derr says, "Working
late may actually reduce tension, worry and stress. What
damages family life is the spillover of worry and tension.
When work generates stress, home for the employee becomes a
refuge or haven."
Researchers have found that it is the presence of tension
rather than the absence of work satisfaction is what
generates the spillover effect of stress into private life.
The lack of fit among personality, authority and the
requirements of ones work is one cause that is the most
insidious source of spillover tension. This directly
relates to public planners. As previously discussed, a planners authority must match the responsibility. Often planners are given much responsibility but are given little authority for implementation. In my experience, this definitely creates tension and frustration among public planners.
According to Derr, spillover tension may also be created by
boring and meaningless work. Even enriched jobs can become
boring and routine with time. Most planner jobs, though,
are fairly enriched because there tends to be a variety of work functions. Spillover stress into private life for
public planners is usually caused by tension and frustration caused by work related pressures and demands and not because the work is boring or meaningless.
In todays society, and among professional managers and
planners in particular, private life is to a great extent at
the mercy of professional life. Derr believes public
planners, as well as managers, must realize that a high
degree of independence is partly necessary for the
development of a well functioning private life. A level of
sensitivity to what is going on in private life is necessary.
Overall, conflict between work and private life reflects low
physical involvement outside work and low sensitivity.
Dealing with Difficult People
Another way to improve social personal skills is by learning how to deal effectively with difficult people. This kind of interpersonal relation also tends to create stress in individuals. Therefore, this subsection will be of particular value for public planners. Difficult people can be found most anywhere in the public and private sectors of any business. For some, the only way to deal with troublesome people is to replace them. But realistically, there is no way to get away from troublesome personalities, and if people
do not learn to deal with them, they will be running away form difficult people and situations all their lives.
"It is unfortunate, though, that just one uncooperative and
abrasive person can ruin the chemistry of an organization
and cause a reduction in enthusiasm," states Alan Loy
McGinnis. In this section, the text will focus on
understanding the rebellious instinct, ways to avoid mutiny, the need of listening to peoples complaints, and ways to deal with the troublemakers personality.
One situation to understand when dealing with difficult
people is to realize that people in general naturally rebel
against authority. They will tend to be hostile toward the
person who has any power over their destiny, according to
McGinnis. So when every idea of a planner, for instance, is
rejected, it probably means that the troublesome person or a
group is showing their natural instinct to curb a leaders
power. The higher a person rises in an organization, the
more he or she will be subject to a combination of admiration
and anger. Overall, what these difficult people really want
is a dynamic leader to inspire them.
McGinnis believes there are ways to avoid mutiny as well when dealing with difficult people. One way for planners and
managers to do this is to surround the leader with weak
people and keep everything tightly within the leaders
control. But once the organization gets big enough, the
leader will be forced to delegate. If the leaders
associates have stronger personalities, the more certain they
are to citicize the leader and create some trouble among the
rank and file workers.
The best leaders, though, are willing to invite these
problems and to have access to the strongest personnel, even
if they have strong personalities. According to McGinnis,
these leaders look for independent and creative people who
have minds of their own and who can lead people below them.
Weak willed people will never be able to lead others and
delegated work may never get done or take longer to do. The
leaders aim is to establish more leaders who can do the same
work the main leader does. The main thing to be aware of
when developing strong leaders, is that one may have to put
up with some criticism.
I believe part of a leaders job, especially when dealing with difficult people, is to spend quite a bit of time listening to peoples complaints. This is necessary for a group to run smoothly. In fact, a group should have a built in allowance for tribulations including voicing complaints.
In summary, what the leader should develop is a positive thinking atmosphere with a minimum of backbiting, criticizing and negative communication.
Anger, for instance, should be brought to the leaders
attention and should not be allowed to smolder through the
rank and file, according to McGinnis. To allow grievances is
one way to keep a high level of enthusiasm. Sometimes,
though, a leader may have to resolve feuds in a group
setting. Reason being is that two people often may not be
able to resolve a group conflict. In this case, a leader
must become a referee in a group so that feuds do not
continue indefinitely. The good motivator-leader will try
not to lose anyone, but also does not allow conflict to
disrupt an organization or group setting.
According to McGinnis, there are several ways to deal with the troublemaker personality. First, the leader must allow room for irrational behavior. This will also lessen the tension within a group, and especially for the difficult person. Second, a leader must try to ascertain the reason for the abrasive style of a particular difficult person. Third, a determination should be made just how disruptive the person really is. They may be subconsciously supported by their peers for their honesty and for representing them to
some extent. Fourth, sometimes the best approach when dealing with difficult people is to simply ask for their help or advice. They may do 180 degrees and be suddenly cooperative.
Fifth, McGinnis says a leader should weigh the troublemakers
contributions. Sometimes its performance, not conformance,
that counts. Sixth, if the problem is severe enough, the
leader must remove the person. A strong leader will not
allow morale to be disrupted and will not be afraid to
punish, reprimand and even dismiss a difficult person who is
unwilling to cooperate and destroys a groups positive
atmosphere. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, the leaders
dealings with troublemakers should appeal to the best side of
a person. The leader should first assume that the person is
simply having a bad day. This approach may prove to work
incredibly well. Also, at first, the leader should be gentle
with reprimands when needed. If leaders, including public
planners and managers, assume the best about people, these
people (even difficult people) will do everything they can to
live up to those expectations. This topic will be further
discussed in chapter eight on topics relating to motivation.
Being Responsive to Other Peoples Needs
This is yet another key to developing social personal skills in public planning. Being responsive to other peoples needs involves two things. One is basically finding out what people want and second is appealing to peoples belief system.
Since people are the most important resource in an
organization, time should be spent finding out what employees
want and need. Managers, as well as planners, should help
other employees how to get what they want and need. McGinnis
believes this is an important tool to use, because leaders
will have a better chance of getting what they want if they
help other employees find out what they want. In summary,
leaders must learn peoples needs then appeal to those
The second way to be responsive to peoples needs is to appeal to their belief system, says McGinnis. All people have a belief system. Until leaders learn what people value and what they want in life, leaders cannot expect to build a successful plan for motivating people. These leaders do not judge people for what they believe, but ask questions and listen well. It is essential for leaders to show people that
while the leader may not agree with a persons beliefs,
wants and needs, they are still important as
Dealing with Politicians and Political Leaders
This is an especially critical area for public planners to grasp in order to develop social personal skills in the public sector. In these instances, it is important for the public planner or manager to respect the position of a political leader no matter what situation the political leader may be involved. I believe since political leaders represent citizens of a community, they are the second most important people for the public servant to consider.
When dealing with these people, it requires a planner or manager to explain to these individuals the standard operating procedures within an organization. In most cases, they do not fully understand the bureaucratic procedures. In my experience, planners and managers sometimes may have to explain reasons why things are done in certain ways.
Also, when making recommendations, planners and managers should keep in mind that they do not want to create more bureaucracy, paper work or just a general work increase for the organization. Recommendations should be clear and
concise. If there is some sort of conflict regarding an issue, recommendations should focus on clear and concise solutions to the conflict based on existing regulations. I believe it is essential to avoid making recommendations of solutions that would create more legislation.
Dealing with Supervisors
As previously discussed in chapter one, dealing with the
supervisor is the planners or managers most important
client. Their effectiveness to a great extent is dependent
on the personality or style of individual workers.
According to Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard in their book,
"Management of Organizational Behavior," supervisor
managers find that they are the ones that must adapt, at
least temporarily, to their subordinates behavior. For the
supervisor, meeting the expectations of the subordinate group
comes first before change can take place. The expectation is
the perception of appropriate behavior under various
The subordinate too must understand his or her supervisor's
expectations, says Hersey and Blanchard. If a planner or
manager is interested in a promotion, they will be more
concerned with meeting the expectations of their supervisor
than their subordinates expectations.
It is important, too, to understand the roles of a supervisor- subordinate relationship. This tends to have an effect on worker satisfaction and morale. Robert H. Guest has done past studies relating to these supervisor -
subordinate relationships and roles. These studies have indicated that task oriented work environments dominated by hostility, mistrust and the use of fear has resulted in the poorest performance record among subordinates.
Guest has concluded that the key for high productivity is an
atmosphere of interpersonal cooperation and personal
satisfaction. The big difference is in the style of
leadership and allowing the supervisors to lead on their own.
Organizations should not tell people how to lead, but to
leave it to their style. This particular topic will be
discussed further in detail in this chapter under essential stylistic skills.
Dealing with Friends in the Same General Field
The is an important area to develop social personal skills but should not be as essential as other related topics as previously discussed. When dealing with friends, ideas can be more readily shared and one can learn from others experiences. When doing business together, I believe friends
should treat each other the same as though they would treat other professionals in the same field, and vice versa. Friends should avoid preferential treatment or bias and simply treat each other fairly as they would in serving the public interest.
Essential Communication and Negotiating Skills
Communication and negotiating skills are one of the most
essential managerial traits for public planners and managers
to have. The AICP code of ethics partly supports this
statement. It states that a planner must strive to provide
full, clear and accurate information of planning issues to
citizens and governmental decision makers. The planner also
has the responsibility for increasing public understanding of
This section will discuss the definition of clear writing, the definition of good oral presentations, coordinating meetings and working with the general public.
Defining Clear Writing
William Cullen Bryant has stated, "Brevity in writing is a
relief to a reader. Never use a long word where a short one
will do. If you dont, youll lose clearness, an honest
expression of meaning, lose in the estimation of all men who
are capable of judging and you lose reputation for ability."
William Strunk, Jr. also emphasized the omitting of needless
words by stating, "vigorous writing is concise."
To improve writing skills one must: 1) make verbs carry the
force of sentence, 2) avoid using linking verbs (is, are,
were...) as much as possible. Replace linking verbs with
active verbs, 3) use active rather than passive verbs
whenever appropriate, 4) clarify fuzziness, double meaning
or foggy reference, 5) keep the point of view consistent, 6)
keep sentences moving; cut out padding and jargon; use the
simplest word to fit the meaning, 7) use specific, concrete
words whenever needed, 8) avoid twisted, complicated or
periodic sentences; keep it simple, 9) do not stuff to many
ideas in one sentence, 10) make smooth transitions between
short sentences; or join short sentences with a conjunction
or a semicolon, 11) write efficiently; reduce clauses to
phrases and phrases to single words, and 12) when stating
rules or principles, include examples of how to apply those
rules and principles.
Defining Good Oral Presentations
Good oral presentations is a part of essential communication skills in public planning agencies. It involves developing a presentation, analyzing the audience, using non-verbal communication, using visual aids, delivering a presentation and how to stretch it, handling questions and reducing worry and fear.
When a planner or manager develops a presentation he or she must write down key ideas and facts, organize notes into an outline form, develop a first draft and finally, practice the presentation orally.
Secondly, a good oral presentation involves analyzing the audience. An oral communicator must appeal to the audiences
interest and must find out more about the audience. The
presenter must also monitor non-verbal behavior of the
audience and know what they think of the presenter. The
presenter then must anticipate questions of the audience.
Lastly, the oral presenter must try to understand the learning styles of the audience. There are four learning styles. The first is the mover who is task oriented, self confident, competitive and quick to act. The second style is the thinker who is factual, rational, thorough, tenacious and detail oriented. Third, is the pleaser who is flexible, agreeable, cooperative and likeable. The last audience style is the enthusiast who is intuitive, seeks excellence, is helpful and looks at the big picture.
Using non-verbal communication helps when giving an oral presentation. The common techniques are voice inflection, appearance, body movement, visual aids and handouts. When
using non-verbal communication, though, it is important to avoid distracting mannerisms. Another non-verbal approach is the SOFTEN technique (i.e., Smile, Open posture, Forward lean, Territory of two to five feet, Eye contact and Nodding attentively).
Visual aids are really an asset when giving oral
presentations. Forms of visual aids are flipcharts (for
small groups only), blackboards (used only if points are to be erased), overhead projectors (for very formal
presentations), slides (for entertainment purposes), films (for action, sight, sound and to get across strong emotional concepts), videotapes and handouts.
After a presentation has been developed, the audience
analyzed and the non-verbal communication and visual aids decided to be used, a presenter has to think about the delivery of the presentation itself. First of all, the presenter should start and end on time. He or she should
define key terms and eliminate jargon. The outline of the
presentation itself should incorporate a introduction, body and conclusion. The presenter should stress hidden opportunities in the data and use powerful words. The twelve most powerful words in the English language are discovery, guarantee, new, easy, health, money, love, power, results,