Recognizing that the work of government is important and that we must get it right, it is time that we, as public servants, take responsibility for our own development as leaders.
Most government employees were drawn to public service out of a desire to make a difference in the world. Effective leaders connect employees to the mission of their organization and unleash their talents and creativity to advance that mission. Employees who are well-trained, highly-motivated, and working as a team can do amazing things. Effective leadership at every level can, thus, drive agency performance.
Leadership in the government context is as challenging as it is important. We face intense scrutiny from the public, the media and congress; we have limited control of our budgets; we face complex rules and processes related to hiring, firing and procurement; and the size of our organizations tends to foster bureaucratic attitudes that can make it difficult to get things done. But the fact that it is hard does not diminish our responsibility to learn how to lead well.
Leadership is a choice. We must choose optimism over cynicism, self-empowerment over passivity, and professional growth over stagnation.
To this end, I resolve to:
Take ownership of my work and strive to make things better within my sphere of influence.
Make an ongoing commitment to my growth as a leader by:
Pursuing varied and challenging assignments that will push me out of my comfort zone and provide me greater perspective;
Identifying an effective senior leader who can serve as a mentor and help me learn from their experience;
Developing the resilience necessary to learn from the setbacks and hardships that I will inevitably encounter during my career;
Cultivating my self-awareness so I can build on my strengths, mitigate my weaknesses, and identify my blind spots; and
Engaging in continuous self-directed learning to ensure I have the skills I need to lead effectively.
Invest in the growth of those more junior to me to ensure that the next generation will be equipped to lead effectively.
Leadership development is a lifelong process. By signing below I am affirming my commitment to the hard work required to become the most effective leader I can be.