Management Matters Management MattersManagement Matters
Practical advice for federal leaders on managing people, processes and projects.

Stepping Stones

ARCHIVES
While the deal reached to raise the debt ceiling in early August did not explicitly include cuts to federal pay and benefits, there is a widespread expectation that government workers and programs still will suffer as a result. That in turn will affect recruitment, retention, training and almost every other facet of agencies' operations.

As current and aspiring managers face this new reality, the American Management Association cites the need for stronger skills in four areas - critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication. And it argues even though money is tight, now is not the time to pinch pennies when it comes to training programs that can help managers gain competency in the Four Cs.

Sam Davis, vice president of government and midmarket sales, says AMA - established in 1923 - has worked with almost every federal agency, either through seminars or customized training programs, to strengthen employees' leadership ability.

Managers are bombarded with information and prospects, and critical thinking - the first C - allows them to separate opportunities from the glut, Davis says. Creativity helps them break out of established patterns and see when the answer is right in front of them. Collaboration makes it possible to thrive in a team environment. And finally, communication helps managers write and speak persuasively and make their views understood.

AMA is not alone in pushing these competencies. A recent report by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service on innovation in government highlighted the need for fostering creativity.

According to the Partnership's research, only 39 percent of federal employees felt their agency rewarded creativity and innovation, yet 91.4 percent said they were constantly looking for ways to do their jobs better.

According to Davis, managers now are expected to be more than supervisors - they also must be leaders, acting as role models for staff. This expectation creates an additional pressure; managers must set the tone at their agency through their conduct, appearance and communication style, among other things.

Leadership training is especially important for the federal government, for a number of reasons, including demographic trends. With many high-level managers at or nearing retirement, new, younger employees are rising through the ranks, Davis notes. Even when agencies are meeting their recruitment challenges head-on and finding high-quality candidates to fill gaps, he says, the new talent does not necessarily have real world experience in the Four Cs. That's where training comes in.

Agencies must invest in individuals' personal development to succeed in their organizational goals, according to Davis. This also can be a powerful recruiting tool. "Obviously federal agencies are competing with the private sector, and it's an asset to show you're concerned about the person and that you will be providing them the tools they need to reach their leadership potential," he says.

Managers should know there are resources out there for them, even when budget dollars run short. AMA's website, AMANet.org, offers a wealth of free information, such as webinars and white papers, to support federal managers. "We believe in lifelong learning and we're committed to supporting the federal government," Davis says.

The Office of Personnel Management also offers tools for current and aspiring leaders at www.leadership.opm.gov. And the Performance Institute provides white papers, research and eLearning courses on its website.

Elizabeth Newell covered management, human resources and contracting at Government Executive for three years.

 
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.