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This site was developed by and for government managers in recognition of the fact that managers in the government often face greater difficulties relating to budgetary constraints, bureaucracy, inflexible hiring and firing practices, and external coordination than do their counterparts in the private sector. The extent of these problems has made many government employees believe that real change is not possible.
It is our view that employees at all levels of government--whether they be political appointees, mid-level managers, or line employees--have the ability to play an important role in transforming their organizations. Unfortunately, most agencies have done a mediocre (or even poor) job of cultivating the skills and attitudes required to help employees become agents of change.
Mid-level managers can play an especially key role as catalysts in promoting change. No reform effort (whether it be a grassroots movement or directed from the top-down) is likely to amount to much if mid-level managers are not doing everything possible to inspire and empower their charges. Government managers must be especially resilient, optimistic, and creative in order to overcome all the obstacles they face--and to make believers of the cynics.
On the other hand, mid-level managers who are either cynical or ineffective themselves, tend to foster a vicious cycle of cynicism. This drives away highly talented employees and serves as a poor model for those who stay and may later move up to become managers.
In making a special site for government managers we do not mean to imply that leadership techniques that work in the private sector do not work in government. They do. We simply believe that public sector managers need additional tools in order to overcome the cynicism and bureaucratic paralysis they encounter every day. So we designed this site to pull together information about leadership and management techniques that have proven highly successful in government.
Our basic belief is that the government can only be truly effective if
front-line employees are motivated and fully engaged in the process of
implementing and fine-tuning their agencies' programs. No one has a
greater impact on employee motivation and engagement than front-line
supervisors, so an essential ingredient for reform lies in ensuring that managers
have the leadership and management skills needed to create an environment in
which their employees can accomplish great things.
GovLeaders.org was founded in 2002 by Don Jacobson, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. He is a member of the Public Sector Consortium and an alumnus of 13L.