Greetings NACM members and court stakeholders:
Thank you for the honor to serve as your president of NACM. I have the wonderful opportunity to work with outstanding court professionals in my office in Pennsylvania and now build upon professional relationships forged while attending NACM conferences and committee meetings.
Throughout our careers in court management, we have learned how essential trusting relationships directly correlate to success. We are keenly aware of the challenges posed when forming these bonds with co-workers, court users, and court stakeholders. When attempting to start or grow trusting relationships, be it with a peer, a supervisor, or a court partner as an individual or as a collective (like NACM), we may encounter resistance. This obstruction may appear in the form of a psychological “wall” or “silo.” Humans tend to willingly operate in a setting that is familiar; even one that is undesirable is usually preferred over the unknown. We often build these walls or silos to protect ourselves. Occasionally we view those outside our “wall” as an “intruder” or an instrument of undesired change. We may even lash out and tell the individual (or organization) to “stay in your lane.” When we are the ones attempting to relate to those behind the barrier we may experience disappointment, rejection, perhaps humiliation.
What is our response, or perhaps what should be our response, to these negative reactions? Hold fast. Stay the course. If we as leaders to our staff, as peers, or as direct reports to our judges and administrators continue to demonstrate our trustworthiness through word and deed, we will have an opportunity to break through these psychological walls or barriers. As I attempted to demonstrate in Tampa at the NACM conference, the “rope” that represents hope, courage, and many other valuable attributes, will provide the tool to reach over, beyond, around, and even through any “wall” or “silo” intentionally or unintentionally created by our desired target.
Relational power is what we must demonstrate, and relational power is what all of us possess. Relational power seeks out the mutual interest or common need for both or all parties in a relationship. Relational power is generally balanced for a mutual gain or “win-win” scenario. As court professionals we must continue to use relational power to every person we touch, a peer, supervisor, a self-represented litigant, a victim, and so many others. Connection with our court customers, partners, peers, and employees will help instill the public’s trust and confidence in our courts across this nation.
Trusting relationships is the one valuable asset we can take with us throughout our lives. I have been blessed personally and professionally with wonderful relationships that have enriched my life. It is my hope that you have as well.