Occasionally I am asked for my suggestions on how to improve leadership in the public sector. Here are a few tips for those in leadership positions who aspire to high standards.
“Focus on what matters. Life is a human resource issue – treat people with respect and keep your word. Always keep your word! Honour your values. As a leader it is important to know yourself. Walk your walk the best you can. Be accountable. Others may not like everything you do or every decision you make. However, they will appreciate honesty. Stay true to your values. If they are aligned, life works better. Be self-aware. Work on yourself. As a leader it is important that you demonstrate a high degree of self-awareness. This awareness goes beyond knowing what you do well and what you don’t do well. Know your personal weaknesses. Encourage a sense of community. Share the vision. Employees need to feel part of something greater. They need to feel that their contribution matters. Find ways of showing that everyone is valued. Encourage communication. Look for ways of communicating with and getting feedback from those you are responsible for leading. With today’s technology, this has never been easier. Have an open door policy and be approachable. Be open to viewpoints that are different from your own. Be persistent. As a leader you will encounter many obstacles and barriers along the way. Leadership is challenging. Stay true to your values. Be willing to admit mistakes and keep going. Be willing to allow those around you to make mistakes too and to learn from those mistakes. Pay it forward. No one is an island unto oneself. Verbally and in other ways show sincere appreciation to the individuals with whom you work. Look for ways to assist employees to realize their own career goals. Offer development opportunities – both personal and professional. Lead, but lead with understanding and appreciation of the great responsibility that comes with a leadership role.”