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Section 5: Empowering Staff

A Decision Making Process to Manage Change

In this section, you will learn how a management team can provide a supportive environment for the TJC model and increase the likelihood of it being institutionalized in your organizational culture.

Why a management team?

Cultural change is unlikely to occur unless staff feel like they have control, power, and decision-making capabilities in the organization—not just in TJC issues but in all matters. An effective management team allows staff members from various parts of the organization to come together and make decisions by committee in concert with and with the authority of top level leadership. These activities are quite useful to gain the ideas of many regarding a large change initiative, such as a TJC implementation; perhaps equally important is the positive influence such activities have on organizational culture. Despite these realities it is also important that all involved understand that, ultimately, top-level leadership has the final responsibility for all organizational decisions.

An effective management team also employs key leaders from throughout your organization to participate in a shared vision and mission consistent with the tenets of the TJC model. With the assistance and full participation of the management team, top-level leaders can gain the support necessary to change policy and practice to realize the TJC model.

Click here for a TJC Leadership Profile on Commissioner Jim Flory from Douglas County, KS.

Forming a management team

Members of the management team should be chosen for their interest in the process as well as their influence with people or groups who are part of the organization. By virtue of their involvement and demonstrated commitment to TJC implementation, they increase the interest and buy-in of their followers and give them a voice in the process.

Management teams are usually made up of members within the organization. By no means should this team be committed to “lock-step” agreement with the leaders; on the contrary, given that a management team represents an organizational group, the team must honestly evaluate all proposed TJC initiatives. As part of this evaluative process, the management team should feel empowered to question or “nay say” to assist in understanding the impact of TJC implementation on the organization or system.

The process of seeking consensus described above is integral to the viability of a management team; honest dialogue and solving difficult problems as a team increases the buy-in of management and shows other people in the organization how effective such a process can be.

Empowering Correctional Staff

You must empower staff to realize that corrections is the process of helping those incarcerated reach goals they were unable or unwilling to achieve prior to incarceration. Make it clear that reentry is a priority and then provide incentives for staff to support reentry. Though it is unlikely staff can be paid for successful discharges, you can acknowledge their commitment in other ways, such as mentioning their efforts in staff newsletters, treating them to a meal, or making them “employee of the month.”

Another possibility is to have an intra-agency internet site where photos and write-ups on the participation by staff in community-related reentry events are posted. One sheriff’s department found that these web postings not only created a sense of community, but infused staff with a dose of healthy competition. We all appreciate recognition, even if we have a tough façade and pretend it doesn’t matter. Don’t underestimate the importance of recognizing the officers who do reentry work or how energizing reentry work can be.

Benefits of a management team

  • Helps the organization understand the leaders and their expectations.
  • Helps the leaders with decision making.
  • Makes more information about TJC implementation available to all levels of the organization.
  • Raises the professionalism and accountability of everyone by spreading authority and control.
  • Increases collaboration among employees to advance TJC efforts.
  • Gains buy-in among internal organizational stakeholders.
  • Lessens reliance on top-down decision making by leaders.
  • Increases transparency and understanding.
  • Represents the interests of multiple organizations in the system.
  • Facilitates agreement on prioritizing issues.

For more information:

1. Davidson County, TN Sheriff’s Office. Intranet website screen shot. A goal of this website is to enhance collaborative organizational communication, keep staff informed about current initiatives, and highlight staff successes.

2.Davidson County, TN Sheriff’s Office. 2009. An introductory communication letter to sheriff’s office staff explaining the TJC initiative and the importance of being a partner in the reentry process.

Let's Review

Let's revisit what we have learned so far in the Leadership, Vision, and Organizational Culture module. Please answer the following questions.

1. A management team is important in ensuring the success of the TJC model because
2. Members of the management team should be chosen for their interest in the TJC process as well as their influence with people or groups who are part of the system or organization.


Now that you have completed this section you understand that a management team comprised of individuals supportive of the TJC model is critical for the model's success. Management team members will be supportive of the TJC model in their day to day work and interactions, and employees will feel that their views are represented throughout the development of transitional services.