voices

Why I Have Faith in Government

I believe in good government. I believe in the Constitution. I believe in the rule of law. Political events over the past 17 months have shaken many of my preconceptions, and occasionally have brought me to tears. But I continue to have faith in our governing institutions. The reason for this ... Read & React

Government’s technology problems are as complex and difficult to address as any in the world. Agencies need to be able to hire the best. Howard Risher

How To Get Leadership Right, According To The CEO Of The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation

by Lila MacLellan

The name Susan Desmond-Hellmann may not have the same household recognition as those of her bosses, Bill and Melinda Gates, but that could change. Correction: That should change. As the CEO of the ... Read & React

The Brief But Satisfying Pleasure Of Not Taking Feedback Well At All

by Corinne Purtill

There is, without question, a right way to accept negative feedback at work. It involves self-awareness, emotional control, and the maturity to step back from the situation and separate the substance of the critique from the emotions it stirs. But all those things are so hard, and so boring! ... Read & React

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Leader

Learning to lead effectively is one long continuous improvement process. No one comes to this role fully prepared for the rigors, twists, and turns created by people and conditions. It’s a learned process that emphasizes experimentation and adaptation in response to the ample surprises you’ll ... Read & React

Congresswoman, Interrupted

It’s a situation familiar to many women: You’re in a contentious meeting with male colleagues. Your turn to talk comes around, and just as you get going, someone else begins talking loudly. Then another person. Within seconds, your colleagues are talking among themselves, and you’re trying to ... Read & React

How to Create a Culture of Fairness in Government

The quality of agency leadership and the role that merit plays in workplace decisions continues to plague the Defense and Homeland Security departments, at least from the employees’ perspective, according to this year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. For example, at Homeland Security many ... Read & React

How To Deal With Naysaying Employees

Almost every team has one: the resident contrarian who takes issue with every plan. They are the first to poke holes in new ideas and explain–in detail–why it’ll never work. Brilliant but negative, naysayers may also feel entitled to express their opinions, even when unwarranted. This type of ... Read & React

What You Need to Know Before Taking a Polygraph

A polygraph is a sweat-inducing made-for-TV spectacle that even the government considers to have dubious results (there is a reason polygraph findings aren’t admissible in court). But individuals in national security careers have to put aside their concerns about the reliability of a lie ... Read & React

Americans Value Critical Thinking But Choose Not To Practice It

by Jenny Anderson

Critical thinking can feel in short supply these days. Politics is more polarized than ever, the president regularly dismisses his opposition as enemies, losers, or phonies, while critics of the president cannot bear the thought of ever entertaining support for his ideas or actions. If a lack of ... Read & React

Michelle Obama Has Imposter Syndrome, Too—And Some Advice For Dealing With It

by Lila MacLellan

Reports from Michelle Obama’s book tour promoting her new memoir Becoming (Crown, 2018) have been a salve for the spirit in a tumultuous year. Like the book, her talks in front of massive crowds have managed to be inspiring, without being overly optimistic, out of touch, or contrived. What the ... Read & React

The Missing Piece in OMB’s Push for High-Value Government

by Andrew Feldman and Kathy Stack

It may feel like winter in Washington, but the White House Office of Management and Budget wants a spring cleaning within the executive branch. The target isn’t dirt or clutter, but rather unneeded rules and requirements imposed on agencies. The push is one of OMB’s cross-agency priority goals, ... Read & React