Leadership in Government







The Trusted Leader: Building the Relationships that Make Government Work

The Trusted Leader: Building the Relationships that Make Government Work

Edited by Tery Newell, Grant Reeher, and Peter Ronayne

The Trusted Leader starts with the premise that building trust and relationships at every level (i.e. between career public managers and political appointees, front-line employees, personnel from other agencies, members of Congress, private citizens) is a necessary pre-condition for effective government. The authors assert that high-level efforts to dictate or legislate reform usually fall short because of inattention to these trust and relationship issues (see excerpt). Includes superb chapters discussing values-based leadership, self-awareness, team building, collaboration, working with Congress and much more. Many of the chapters were written by leadership experts with decades of experience teaching at the Federal Executive Institute, so they have a deep understanding of the challenges we face leading in the public service. This is an invaluable resource for practitioners of public sector leadership. Read More...

The Jossey-Bass Reader on Nonprofit and Public Leadership

The Jossey-Bass Reader on Nonprofit and Public Leadership

Edited by James L. Perry

This book is an incredible resource for public managers. It includes a collection of more than 30 classic articles, essays, and book chapters by leadership experts such as John Gardner ("The Task of Leadership"), Larry Spears ("Practicing Servant Leadership"), Ray Blunt ("How Leaders are Grown"), Edgar Schein ("The Learning Leader as Culture Manager"), and Kouzes & Posner ("Enlist Others: Attracting People to Common Purposes"). Also includes essays by authors such as Max DePree, Bob Behn, Bill George, Warren Bennis, Joseph Nye, and Barbara Kellerman. The essays cover a wide range of topics, including theories of leadership for the public sector to the skills required, and the types of leadership we will need in the future. Read More...

The First 90 Days in Government

By Peter H. Daly and Michael Watkins

The transition period when a new leader takes over an organization or work unit in the public sector has a huge impact that leader’s success. "First impressions" really are important, and leaders who fail to establish trust with their new charges from the beginning are very unlikely to earn it later. Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days has now teamed up with Peter Daly to publish a book that addresses government-specific transition issues.  Includes tips on how to move mentally into a new role (e.g. from "subject matter expert" to "manager"), how to speed up learning about the new organization, the importance of securing early wins, and how to avoid “predictable surprises.” Extremely useful to anyone moving into a new role in government.  Read More...

Transforming Public Leadership for the 21st Century

Edited by Ricardo S. Morse, Terry F. Bass and C. Morgan Kinghorn

Transforming Public Leadership for the 21st Century is an extremely welcome addition to the literature on public administration thanks to its relevance to the real work done by public managers--which, first and foremost, involves getting the government’s work done through people. Includes terrific chapters on being a change agent, dealing with complexity, effectively managing presidential transitions, leading large IT projects, leading through networks and many others topics. The articles are interesting, refreshing--and sometimes provocative. If we are fortunate, this volume will be followed by many more scholarly works that focus on the critical issue of how public managers actually lead their people.  Read More...

Cover of "How to Manage in the Public Sector"

How to Manage in the Public Sector

By Gordon Chase and Elizabeth Reveal

This classic book was published in 1983 but it is still highly relevant today.  Gordon Chase was an exceptionally effective public manager who inspired many through both his example and his teaching at the Kennedy School of Government.  This book was published posthumously and is drawn from a manuscript and other notes he left behind.  Includes lots of insightful and practical advice about how to deal with elected officials, their staffers, community groups, and the media.  Read More...


Cover of "The Bureaucratic Entrepreneur"

The Bureaucratic Entrepreneur: How to Be Effective in an Unruly Organization

By Richard N. Haass

The Bureaucratic Entrepreneur is a well-written and superbly organized guide on how to be effective in government. It is packed with practical advice on how to manage up, down and laterally within an organization, as well as how to work effectively with external actors like Congress, the media, and interest groups. Although some sections seem to talk more to political appointees, most of Haass's advice is relevant for any government employee who wants to get things done. Highly recommended. Read more...